What does the Backbone of Hera asteroid mission look like? ESA shows us

11/03/2022
Credit image: RUAG Space
Credit image: RUAG Space

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 11 March 2022, at 12:01 pm Los Angeles time

ESA's Hera mission is taking shape, according to the latest data provided by ESA. 

In the image above you can see the central core made of carbon fibre reinforced polymer, of the Hera mission for planetary defense. Hera and DART are two missions, to the same asteroid, with one main goal: planetary defense by a potential impact. The DART spacecraft has been launched by NASA and has long been on its way to the asteroids Didymos, doing some tests before the impact. 

ESA's Hera mission will then fly to the same asteroid system to make sure everything went according to plan. The mission of the European space agency aims to evaluate and investigate asteroids, their internal structure, the crater made by the DART mission after impact. All of this will be inspected by ESA to ensure that the asteroid will not be a threat to Earth. 

According to ESA, this core, which you see in the picture, is a kind of backbone for the spacecraft that is currently being built at RUAG Space in Switzerland and OHB in the Czech Republic. 

ESA has a few more tests to do on this "backbone" of the spacecraft, including current "static load" tests, which after completion will be shipped to the OHB in Germany according to plan, where it will assemble with the primary structure of the spacecraft. 

The launch of the Hera "investigative" mission will be launched in 2024, somewhere in October, and will reach the asteroids Didymos after two years in December 2026. 

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