Darmstadt, 15 September 2020. – The European House Company (ESA) awarded a €129.four million contract overlaying the design, manufacturing and testing of Hera, the area company’s first mission for planetary defence, ESA introduced immediately.
The contract was signed by Franco Ongaro, ESA Director of Expertise, Engineering and High quality, and Marco Fuchs, CEO of Germany area firm OHB, prime contractor of the Hera consortium, ESA mentioned immediately. The signing passed off at ESA’s European House Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, which can function mission management for the 2024-launched Hera.
The mission will likely be Europe’s contribution to a world asteroid deflection effort, set to carry out sustained exploration of a double asteroid system, ESA mentioned.
Hera will likely be, together with NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Take a look at (DART) spacecraft, humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system, a bit understood class making up round 15% of all recognized asteroids, the company mentioned.
Hera is the European contribution to a world planetary defence collaboration amongst European and US scientists known as the Asteroid Influence & Deflection Evaluation (AIDA).
The DART spacecraft is due for launch in July 2021 and can first carry out a kinetic affect on the smaller of the 2 our bodies.
Hera will then follow-up with an in depth post-impact survey to show this grand-scale experiment right into a well-understood and repeatable asteroid deflection approach, ESA mentioned.
As a result of launch in October 2024, Hera will journey to a binary asteroid system – the Didymos pair of near-Earth asteroids. The 780 meter-diameter mountain-sized principal physique is orbited by a 160 meter moon known as ‘Dimorphos’.
DART’s kinetic affect into Dimorphos in September 2022 is anticipated to change its orbit round Didymos in addition to create a considerable crater, ESA mentioned. “This moonlet asteroid would be the first celestial physique to have its orbital and bodily traits deliberately altered by human intervention.”
Hera will arrive on the Didymos system on the finish of 2026, to carry out at the very least six months of close-up examine. Hera’s mission management will likely be primarily based at ESA’s ESOC centre in Darmstadt, Germany, additionally the house of ESA’s new House Security and Safety programme, of which Hera is part.