Anomaly ends DART spacecraft mission early

April 17, 2005
DART flight demonstrator, top left, rendezvous with the MUBLCOM satellite, bottom right, in orbit

The Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft that was successfully launched Friday at 10:25 a.m. PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., experienced an on orbit anomaly late Friday. The $110 million DART mission ended unexpectedly when it detected a fuel problem. DART launch has been scheduled for last fall, but was postponed several times.

After a successful rendezvous, acquisition of the target spacecraft, and approach to within approximately 300 feet, DART placed itself in the retirement phase before completing all planned proximity operations, ending the mission prematurely.

NASA is convening a mishap investigation board to determine the reason for the DART spacecraft anomaly.

DART was an experimental spacecraft designed to test technologies that would permit spacecraft to approach other spacecraft without human intervention. While previous rendezvous and docking efforts have been piloted by astronauts, the DART spacecraft completed the rendezvous and acquisition with no human intervention, relying on a variety of sensors and analyses to complete these functions.

Explore further: CubeSats to an asteroid

Related Stories

CubeSats to an asteroid

November 3, 2015

The five CubeSat concepts to be studied to accompany ESA's proposed Asteroid Impact Mission into deep space have been selected.

AIDA double mission to divert Didymos asteroid's Didymoon

September 30, 2015

An ambitious joint US-European mission, called AIDA, is being planned to divert the orbit of a binary asteroid's small moon, as well as to give us new insights into the structure of asteroids. A pair of spacecraft, the ESA-led ...

NASA spacecraft moves one step closer to fall launch

October 1, 2004

A demonstration of unmanned spacecraft rendezvous in space - something that has never been done in the history of U.S. spaceflight - is planned later this month. The Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) demonstrator will ...

NASA Releases DART Accident Report Summary

May 16, 2006

NASA released a summary Monday of the findings about why its Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology spacecraft did not complete its mission and collided with the intended rendezvous satellite on April 15, 2005.

Recommended for you

Amazon deforestation leaps 16 percent in 2015

November 28, 2015

Illegal logging and clearing of Brazil's Amazon rainforest increased 16 percent in the last year, the government said, in a setback to the aim of stopping destruction of the world's greatest forest by 2030.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.