NASA postponed today’s launch of the Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft because the target satellite, Multiple Paths, Beyond-Line-of-Sight Communications, had a temporary loss of GPS reception that could have impacted the navigation accuracy for the planned on-orbit rendezvous between the two craft.
Launch officials said Monday that there was a 90 percent chance weather violations could scrub today’s launch of DART, a spacecraft designed to seek out and rendezvous with a satellite in Earth orbit. If successful, DART’s flight could prove key technologies developed by NASA to build autonomous, rendezvous-ready spacecraft.
While the GPS dropout has been corrected, the launch team wanted additional time to verify the data, NASA said in a press release. The possibility of adverse weather also contributed to the decision to postpone the launch for at least 48 hours, pending the availability of range assets.