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A weekly roundup of space news: DART crashes, Artemis 1 postponed and more

Last week, NASA smashed its DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) rover into the asteroid Demorphos, making humanity’s first successful planetary defense test. Elsewhere, the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft had to be returned to the space agency’s vehicle assembly building to protect the stack from the effects of Hurricane Ian. Read about it all in our weekly space news recap.

DART collision with Dimorphos

NASA’s DART spacecraft successfully completed its planned collision with the asteroid Dimorphos on September 27 at 4:44 am (IST). Our planetary and space telescopes are measuring this change to see how it compares to that of computer-generated simulations.

After studying the orbital changes and consequences of collisions, scientists will see if this “dynamic impact” method of mitigating asteroids is viable if real asteroids threaten our planet.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is seen in this image from Sept. 26, 2022. The team is configuring a system to roll the stack back to the vehicle assembly building. (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Artemis 1 launch unlikely before mid-November

NASA returned the Artemis 1 mission’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft to the vehicle assembly building as Hurricane Ian was approaching Florida. Instead of trying to launch the rocket during her Sept. 27 launch window, NASA decided to send the stack back to the assembly building at her 6.4-kilometre distance.

APs NASA official Jim Flea reports that it will be difficult to upgrade the rocket and return it to the launch pad for an October launch attempt. Free reportedly noted that this would make it difficult for him to try during the mid-to-late October launch period. The next launch window he opens on November 12th.

NASA SpaceX Crew 5 Dragon Spacecraft SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance spacecraft arrives at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Facility 39A hangar for NASA’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA/SpaceX)

NASA delays launch of SpaceX Crew 5

Artemis 1’s launch day wasn’t the only casualty from Hurricane Ian. NASA and SpaceX have decided to postpone the launch of the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station until Tuesday, October 4, at 12:23 p.m. EDT (9:53 p.m.). Originally he was scheduled to launch on October 3rd. SpaceX is maintaining a preliminary launch opportunity for Wednesday, October 5th.

The Crew-5 mission will include NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Kasada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos astronaut Anna Kikina. Apart from personnel, the mission also includes many important scientific missions.

Hubble orbital boost

Reuters Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to fund research to see if and how the private space company’s Dragon capsule could be used to raise the orbital altitude of the Hubble Space Telescope. I am reporting. This is intended to extend the service life. NASA said the team will collect the data to “help determine whether it can safely rendezvous, dock, and move the telescope to a more stable orbit.”

Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has provided astronomers with vital images and scientific data. Hubble was reportedly serviced several times during the US Space Shuttle program in the early 2000s. The program was discontinued in 2011, and astronomers have considered various ways to repair the telescope. A plan has not yet been formulated.