DART Mission: Partial Success/Partial Failure

On Orbit Anomaly Ends NASA DART Mission Early, NASA HQ

"After a successful rendezvous, acquisition of the target spacecraft, and approach to within approximately 300 feet, DART placed itself in the retirement phase before completing all planned proximity operations, ending the mission prematurely. NASA is convening a mishap investigation board to determine the reason for the DART spacecraft anomaly."

NASA Launches DART Spacecraft to Demonstrate Automated Rendezvous Capability

Editor's update: The reason why no images were released - is because there were none. Getting the images was a balance between ground station coverage, DART's position, and its mission phase. Had an image been received, it would have not shown anything due to the events that had transpired. As for releasing data and updates, the problems with DART happened around 11 hours into the mission - late at night and they happened fast. NASA says that it got the information out - around 7:00 am local time the next day - as soon as people knew what had happened. Prior to the sudden shift by DART into retirement mode, everything had been going more or less smooth and and NASA's project manager said that there would have been little to report other than "things are going smooth".

Editor's earlier note: Why has there been no issuance of status reports on DART by NASA? I have looked at MSFC, HQ, Orbital websites - nothing - no reports after initial launch. No photos, videos, nothing. Go figure: a very cool, enabling mission and no one can tune in as it happens. Indeed, you'd think ESMD would be embracing this as the first mission on the way to implementing VSE.

Reader Comments (send yours to nasawatch@reston.com)

With regard to: "there would have been little to report other than "things are going smooth".


They could have said:

"The second HAPS burn went off on time at 0055 GMT, within one minute of the planned timeline. DART is now in a circular orbit 40 km behind MUBLCOM. DART has achieved its initial stationkeeping 3 km from MUBLCOM, at 0100 GMT."

... and so on and so on, throughout the afternoon. That would have been exciting. "things are going smooth".. but in a rendezvous mission like this, times and orbits always differ a little from what was in the press kit, which didn't have a very detailed timeline anyway. So we could have had an increasing sense of the *degree* to which things were happening as planned, which would have worked in NASA's favor as instead of our first postlaunch news being "We failed", we'd have got a sense of 'ok, all these different things worked just fine, and then oh dear later on things went wrong'. So I think it was a big mistake that they didn't keep the public in the loop.

Feel free to repost this

Jonathan McDowell

"Why has there been no issuance of status reports on DART..."

Because when you hear "low budget" it really does mean low budget, very low, like so low that there is no-one to write a release...When are we every going to learn that these low budget missions more often turn into low budget screw ups.

Reason you don't see anything posted on the MSFC website about the DART mission is because we're all too busy running ISO exercises, changing our IT passwords every 15 days (mind you that 99.9% of us have no sensitive material to secure, other than an occasional porno jpg whichcansometimesbe found ona supervisors computer (ref.a current disciplinary action)) or doing some other useless "work" while we continue to charge to the "TRANSITIONAL WORKFORCE " charge code. Transitional workforce is a buzzword management uses for the 30% of us that they can't figure out what to do with, even though popular opinion says we're going to the Moon and Mars any day now.


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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 18, 2005 10:50 AM.

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