Press Release

NASA’s First Planetary Defense Mission Readies for Integration and Testing at APL

Mon, 04/13/2020 - 12:37

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) team leading NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was recently given the green light to begin the mission’s next critical phase.

DART, the first planetary defense mission, will now move into integration and testing, where the spacecraft and its systems come together.

An Integration and Readiness Review board, led by chief engineer Steven Thibault of APL’s Space Exploration Sector and including members of the NASA Standing Review Board and APL experts, met at APL in Laurel, Maryland, on March 11–12.

DART’s engineering team, led by APL mission systems engineer Elena Adams, presented the state of the mission’s readiness, which includes the status of the spacecraft build, of software and mission operations, and of the integration and test team and facilities.

“The review team had great things to say on our progress and verification, safety and testing approach,” Adams said. “The DART mission continues to move forward, and we are focused on getting started on this critical next phase.”

The team is preparing for the arrival of the spacecraft primary structure in early May from Aerojet in Redmond, Washington, where DART’s propulsion system was installed.