Having long been an enabling partner for space voyages, and carefully cultivated a reputation for safety and reliability as well as performance, we’re now part of the first mission where a deliberate full-scale cosmic crash was the primary objective.
It’s not as crazy as it seems. NASA’s £240m Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is part of the exciting international effort to explore ways in which we might in future defend ourselves from asteroids or comets on a collision course with Earth.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest risks to the delicate components of the isolator is during assembly and testing. Atypically, we analyse our space components in the event of a ground fault, and we use customised ‘flange savers’ which protect the component’s signal interfaces prior to assembly. We also fastidiously maintain the highest production standards, including interplanetary cleansing measures to prevent carrying any of earth’s germs into space.
After such careful preparation it may seem counterintuitive but watching the DART crash will be one of our proudest moments yet – as it will mark our official status as Pioneers of Planet Protection.