Press Release

DART Mission Receives Space Foundation Achievement Award

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) team has been selected to receive the 2023 Space Achievement Award, a top award from the Space Foundation. This annual award recognizes individuals or organizations that have demonstrated breakthrough space technology or program success representing milestones in space exploration.

“Congratulations to NASA’s DART team and to our partners around the world who helped to make this mission a success,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “DART was a watershed moment for planetary defense. NASA will continue to build on that legacy to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us!”

The award will be presented at the Space Foundation’s yearly opening ceremony of the Space Symposium in Colorado on April 17.

“As a first-of-its-kind research mission for planetary defense, DART was another sterling example of the global teamwork and expertise required to make the unimaginable possible,” said Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor. “This mission proves that there is no place humanity cannot touch when we work together for common purposes. The entirety of the DART team is to be commended for their extraordinary work in planetary defense and research.”

NASA’s DART spacecraft launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California and successfully impacted its target asteroid, Dimorphos, 10 months later on Sept. 26, 2022. While Dimorphos posed no hazard to Earth, DART’s successful collision with the asteroid demonstrated one method of asteroid deflection using kinetic impactor technology.

Immediately following DART’s impact, the team began analyzing imagery returned by DART’s onboard Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) camera and the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube), which deployed from DART to capture images of the spacecraft’s impact and resulting cloud of ejected matter from the asteroid. The team also is analyzing imagery from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope and Lucy spacecraft, which simultaneously captured observations of the DART impact on the surface of the small asteroid moonlet in the double-asteroid system Didymos.