Press Release

Johns Hopkins APL Receives DART Spacecraft Structure and Ramps Up Integration and Testing

The DART primary structure returned to APL on May 15 and was moved into a clean room. It will remain on campus for the next year, undergoing assembly and testing ahead of its summer 2021 launch.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 11:42

On May 15, the primary structure for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft returned to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. Now equipped with its chemical propulsion system and elements of its electrical propulsion system — installed at Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond, Washington — the spacecraft will remain at APL through final assembly and prelaunch testing.

The DART Integration and Test team greeted the truck carrying the refrigerator-sized structure as it arrived at APL after its cross-country trip. The highly anticipated “package” was moved to a clean room on campus, where the spacecraft will eventually be outfitted with its critical operating systems and its lone instrument — the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) — in the coming months.