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After carrying on with many series of performance and environmental tests, NASA’s Xenon thruster – commercial which is an evolutionary instrument, is ready for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which is scheduled to launch by next year.
In the past few months, the Xenon instrument which is developed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center designed and built on Aerojet Rocketdyne was being put under vibration, performance test and also with integrated power processing unit.
Further, the environmental testing verified that the instrument could withstand the extreme vibrations and temperatures that are emitted from the space flight.
Additionally, DART will be the first space mission that demonstrates the deflection of the asteroid through kinetic impact which is a technique that could inhibit the hazardous asteroid from affecting the Earth by changing the motion of the asteroid in the space. Then, NEXT-C’s propulsion system will be tested on the same mission with other necessary technologies.
Moreover, when the propulsion system is successfully demonstrated on the DART mission, NEXT-C will be utilized for many purposes for the next 10-15 years long where the uncrewed missions could include going to the other directions of the asteroids, comets, and planets in the space such as Venus.