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Nasa delays launch for DART asteroid impact test

Dubbed the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the mission aims to shift an asteroid’s orbit through kinetic impact, in September 2022. Basically, impacting a spacecraft into the smaller member of the binary asteroid system Didymos – classed as a near-Earth potential hazard – to change its orbital speed.

Two launch windows were originally considered: a primary one (July 21, 2021 to August 24, 2021) and a secondary one (November 24, 2021 to February 15, 2022). At the request of Science Mission Directorate (SMD), Nasa says, a risk assessment was performed on the DART project schedule to determine their viability.

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