The European Place Company has awarded a €129m (£118m) contract to the German room firm OHB. The deal covers the design, producing and screening of Hera, the ESA’s to start with planetary defence mission.
Hera is the European contribution to an experiment referred to as the asteroid impact and deflection assessment. The other element is Nasa’s double asteroid redirection examination (Dart). The two spacecraft are designed to stop by the double asteroid Didymos.
The major asteroid is 780 metres in diameter and is orbited by a smaller moon, Dimorphos, which is a hundred and sixty metres across, or about the dimension of the Terrific Pyramid of Giza.
Dart will get there in September 2022. Travelling at higher velocity, it will fly headlong into Dimorphos to alter the moon’s orbit by a smaller amount of money.
Hera will launch in 2024 and get there in 2026 to accomplish at least six months of observations to greater understand Didymos and Dimorphos and how the impact has influenced the moon.
Hera will operate an automated guidance, navigation and management technique, designed by the ESA, which turns the spacecraft into the equivalent of a driverless car or truck. It will also deploy two miniature satellites currently being designed by other companies, Juventas and the Asteroid Prospection Explorer, to help in its investigation.