NASA TV to Air DART Prelaunch Activities, Launch

Press Release From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2021

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The mission will help determine if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course. DART’s target asteroid is not a threat to Earth.

DART is scheduled to launch no earlier than 1:20 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 24 (10:20 p.m. PST Tuesday, Nov. 23) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Live launch coverage will begin at 12:30 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 (9:30 p.m. PST Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021), on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website, with prelaunch and science briefings beginning Sunday, Nov. 21.

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.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all media participation in news conferences will be remote. Please refer to NASA’s media accreditation policy for teleconferences and onsite activities. A phone bridge will be provided for each briefing. Media and the public also may refer to the DART press kit for more information on the mission.

Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Sunday, Nov. 21

4 p.m. – DART investigation and engineering briefing with the following participants:

  • Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Tom Statler, DART program scientist, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters
  • Andy Rivkin, DART investigation team lead, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Betsy Congdon, DART mechanical systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Simone Pirrotta, Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) project manager, Italian Space Agency

This event is open to media with valid credentials. Media who would like to ask questions during the investigation briefing must provide their name and affiliation by 4 p.m. EST (1 p.m. PST) Friday, Nov. 19, to the newsroom at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at: Media and the public also may ask questions on social media using #AskNASA.

Monday, Nov. 22

7 p.m. – DART prelaunch news conference, with the following participants:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer, NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, NASA Headquarters
  • Ed Reynolds, DART project manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Omar Baez, senior launch director, Launch Services Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Julianna Scheiman, director for civil satellite missions, SpaceX
  • Capt. Maximillian Rush, weather officer, Space Launch Delta 30, Vandenberg Space Force Base

This event is open to media with valid credentials. Media who would like to ask questions during the prelaunch briefing must provide their name and affiliation by 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST) Monday, Nov. 22, to the Kennedy newsroom at: Media may also ask questions on social media using #AskNASA.

Tuesday, Nov. 23

4 p.m. – NASA Science Live, with the following participants:

  • Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters
  • Nancy Chabot, DART coordination lead, John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Joshua Ramirez Rodriguez, telecommunications subsystem integration and test lead engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

This event will stream live on the agency’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels. Members of the public can participate live by submitting questions in the comment section of the streams, or by using #AskNASA.

Wednesday, Nov. 24

12:30 a.m. – NASA TV live launch coverage begins.

Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135.

Planetary Defender Campaign

To allow the public to share in the excitement of DART, NASA has launched the Planetary Defenders campaign. Participants can answer a short series of questions about planetary defense to earn their planetary defender certificate, which they can download or print, as well as a digital badge to share on social media using the hashtag #PlanetaryDefender.

Public Participation 

Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for DART includes curated launch resources, a behind-the-scenes look at the mission, and the opportunity for a virtual guest launch passport stamp.

Virtual NASA Social

As we finalize launch preparations, we are excited to invite the public to join our virtual NASA Social for the #DARTMission on Facebook. Stay up to date on the latest mission activities, interact with NASA and DART team members in real-time, and watch the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will boost DART toward its destination.

Watch and Engage on Social Media

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you're following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #DARTMission and tag these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA, @AsteroidWatch, @NASASocial and @NASA_LSP

Facebook: NASA and NASA LSP

Instagram: NASA

Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo 321-501-8425.

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory has been directed to manage the DART mission for NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office as a project of the agency’s Planetary Missions Program Office. The agency provides support for the mission from several centers, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Johnson Space Center in Houston, Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, and Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX is the rocket provider for the DART launch.

For more information about DART, visit:

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