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ESA Awards Contract for Hera Planetary Defense Mission

15 Sep 2020, 15:04 UTC
ESA Awards Contract for Hera Planetary Defense Mission
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ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence seen approaching the Dimorphos asteroid moonlet. (Credit: OHB)

PARIS, 15 September 2020 (ESA PR) — Today ESA awarded a €129.4 million contract covering the detailed design, manufacturing and testing of Hera, the Agency’s first mission for planetary defence. This ambitious mission will be Europe’s contribution to an international asteroid deflection effort, set to perform sustained exploration of a double asteroid system.

Hera – named after the Greek goddess of marriage – will be, along with NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) spacecraft, humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system, a little understood class making up around 15% of all known asteroids.

The contract was signed today by Franco Ongaro, ESA Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality, and Marco Fuchs, CEO of Germany space company OHB, prime contractor of the Hera consortium. The signing took place at ESA’s ESOC centre in Germany, which will serve as mission control for the 2024-launched Hera.

Using its laser altimeter Hera scans Didymoon’s surface. (Credit: ESA – ScienceOffice.org)

Hera is the European contribution to an international planetary defence collaboration among European and US scientists called the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment, AIDA. The DART spacecraft – ...

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