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 Summaryof DART Accident Report

NASA released a summary on May 15, 2006, 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.

+ Read the Summary (87 Kb PDF)

The spacecraft was to autonomously rendezvous with and perform a series of maneuvers in close proximity to a communications satellite no longer in use. The NASA spacecraft performed nominally during the first eight hours of the mission ― launch, checkout, and rendezvous phases. It accomplished all objectives up to that point, though ground operations personnel noticed some anomalies with the craft's navigation system.

During proximity operations, the spacecraft began using more propellant than expected. Approximately 11 hours into the mission, the craft detected its propellant supply was depleted and began a series of maneuvers for departure and retirement. Although not known at the time, it made contact with and boosted the rendezvous satellite's orbit 1.2 nautical miles higher. The rendezvous satellite was not damaged.

Both satellites are in low-Earth orbits that will not be a hazard to other spacecraft. They will eventually burn up upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

 
  MISSIONS NEWS
 
 04.16.05 - On Orbit Anomaly Ends DART Mission Early
The Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft that was successfully launched Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., experienced an on orbit anomaly late Friday.
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 04.15.05 - DART Successfully Launched April 15
The Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft has successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
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 04.11.05 - DART Spacecraft to Launch on Pegasus XL Rocket April 15
NASA's Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology to launch during a 7-minute launch window which extends from 10:21:49 - 10:28:49 a.m. PDT.
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  RELATED MULTIMEDIA 
 
 Launch of the Pegasus rocket
DART Launch Video Collection
View videos captured during live coverage of the DART launch.
+ View Launch Day Videos
 
 George Diller reflects on launching rockets
Launch Services
Why launch anything into space?
+ View this Video
 
 The DART spacecraft
DART Solos
Since Gemini, rendezvous technology has been key to success.
+ View this Video
 
 DART technology webcast
NASA "Darts" Into Space
NASA's little spacecraft is a giant of technology.
+ View this Video
 


  RELATED SITES 
 
 DART Mission
Learn more about the DART mission.
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 DART Mission Features
Learn more about DART's technology.
+ Read More
 


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