NASA grants Elon Musk’s SpaceX $69 million to fly spacecraft into asteroid

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been awarded a $69 million contract for a mission that will include flying a spacecraft into an asteroid.

NASA last week awarded the contract to SpaceX, selecting the company to provide services for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, NASA said in a statement.

The current target date for the mission is June 2021, and NASA plans to use one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, the agency said.

With the mission, NASA will look to “demonstrate a kinetic impact” by deliberately flying a spacecraft into a small asteroid, according to a description of the project on NASA’s website.

“The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software,” the website reads.

“The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit…

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