“The DART spacecraft did make contact with the target satellite during the rendezvous phase of the mission and boosted it into a slightly higher orbit,” NASA spokeswoman Kim Newton said April 22.
I love how bland and uninteresting a NASA spokesman can make anything sound. They were playing bumber cars at a 300 km altitude but somehow you get the feeling no one at NASA is excited or even surprised.
NASA initially reported that the self-guided DART spacecraft closed to within about 100 meters of Mublcom before DART’s onboard computer detected that it had prematurely exhausted its onboard propellant. The computer then called off the approach.
The initial report I read did not specifically say that DART had used up all of its fuel. It was only suggested days later that that might have happened. As information about DART comes out we can already start to guess what may have happened.
The first indication that DART hit Mublcom came from ground controllers at Orbital Sciences who detected that the military satellite was in a slightly higher orbit than it was before its encounter with DART, according to Newton.
So let's say that DART did collide with Mublcom. Why was all the fuel exhausted? May I provide a couple theories? The collision cracked a valve or connection and created a fuel leak. The only other thing I can think off is a massive programming error. And I'm assuming the software as tested the heck out of, so I'm thinking the first theory is the only plausible explanation. But why did it collide in the first place?
Anybody else got any other ideas?