DART is a planetary protection technology demonstrator; an impactor designed to move a small asteroid to a different trajectory.

Date: Nov. 24
Time: 0120 Eastern (0620 GMT; 2220 Pacific Nov. 23)
Launcher: Falcon 9
Pad: SLC-4E Vandenberg Space Force Base
Recovery: droneship



The spacecraft is designed to direct itself to impact an asteroid while traveling at a speed of roughly 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 kilometers per hour). Its target is the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos (Greek for “two forms”), which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos (Greek for “twin”). In fall 2022, DART will impact Dimorphos to change its orbit within the Didymos binary asteroid system. The Didymos system is the ideal candidate for DART because it poses no actual impact threat to Earth, and scientists can measure the change in Dimorphos’ orbit with ground-based telescopes.