Crew Vandenberg launched a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Area Launch Advanced-4 right here right now, Nov. 23, at 10:21 p.m. Pacific Time. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Take a look at, the world’s first full-scale planetary protection check, into orbit from Vandenberg Area Pressure Base. True to its identify, DART is a targeted mission, proving {that a} spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a goal asteroid and deliberately collide with it (referred to as a kinetic influence) at roughly 4 miles per second (6 kilometers per second). Its goal, which poses no menace to Earth, is the asteroid moonlet.

“It takes your complete group for a protected and profitable launch. I congratulate NASA on attaining step one on this program’s journey on its planetary protection check mission. We’re proud to be part of this group,” mentioned Col. Rob Lengthy, Area Launch Delta 30 commander.

Commercial

Two completely different views of the DART spacecraft. The DRACO (Didymos Reconnaissance & Asteroid Digicam for OpNav) imaging instrument is predicated on the LORRI high-resolution imager from New Horizons. The left view additionally exhibits the Radial Line Slot Array (RLSA) antenna with the ROSAs (Roll-Out Photo voltaic Arrays) rolled up. The view on the best exhibits a clearer view of the NEXT-C ion engine. (Picture by Nationwide Aeronautics and Area Administration)

Area Launch Delta 30, Vandenberg’s host unit, helps West Coast launch actions for the U.S. Air Pressure, Division of Protection, Nationwide Aeronautics and Area Administration, nationwide applications and varied personal business contractors. SLD 30 helps the processing and launch of quite a lot of expendable autos together with Atlas V, Delta IV, Pegasus, Minotaur, and Falcon 9. The Delta additionally helps Pressure Growth and Analysis of all intercontinental ballistic missiles, in addition to Missile Protection Company (MDA) check and operations.

Double Asteroid Redirection Take a look at (DART) is a NASA area mission aimed toward testing a way of planetary protection in opposition to near-Earth objects (NEO). It’ll intentionally crash an area probe into the double asteroid Didymos to check whether or not the kinetic power of a spacecraft influence may efficiently deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. DART is a joint mission between NASA and the Johns Hopkins Utilized Physics Laboratory (APL), administered by NASA’s Planetary Protection Coordination Workplace, with a number of NASA laboratories and places of work offering technical assist. Worldwide companions, such because the area businesses of Europe, Italy, and Japan, are contributing to associated or subsequent initiatives.