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NASA releases DART report summary
Posted: Tue, May 16, 2006, 8:03 AM ET (1203 GMT)
DART spacecraft illustration (OSC) A collision between a small NASA satellite and another spacecraft last year has been blamed on a glitch with the spacecraft's navigation system, compounded by management and training issues, according to a report summary released by NASA late Monday. The Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft was launched in April 2005 on a short mission to rendezvous with a defunct small military satellite, MUBLCOM, without human guidance. The mission ended early, though, when DART bumped into MUBLCOM. According to the summary of the mishap investigation board report, glitches in DART's navigation system caused it to inaccurately measure its position and navigation, using up an excessive amount of thruster propellant in the process. Contributing to the failure, the report summary noted, was the "high risk, low budget" nature of the project and inadequate training of the spacecraft team. The full report was not issued by NASA, citing export control issues.
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