Anomaly ends DART spacecraft mission early

Apr 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: Lockheed Martin successfully mates NOAA GOES-R satellite modules

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 ...

DART Launch Successful

Apr 15, 2005

NASA’s Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft successfully launched today at 1:25 p.m. EDT (10:25 a.m. PDT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., beginning a 24-hour mission ...

NASA's robotic spacecraft to be launched on April 15

Apr 04, 2005

After a series of delays, NASA's Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft is finally scheduled to launch at 1:21 p.m. EDT, April 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. DART is ...

NASA spacecraft moves one step closer to fall launch

Oct 01, 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) ...

Recommended for you

Internet moguls Musk, Bezos shake up US space race

8 hours ago

The space race to end America's reliance on Russia escalated this week with a multibillion dollar NASA award for SpaceX's Elon Musk and an unexpected joint venture for Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos.

The Great Cold Spot in the cosmic microwave background

Sep 19, 2014

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the thermal afterglow of the primordial fireball we call the big bang. One of the striking features of the CMB is how remarkably uniform it is. Still, there are some ...

User comments : 0