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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington                     August 21, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1979)

Dom Amatore
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256/544-0034)


     The Demonstration for Autonomous Rendezvous Technology 
(DART) spacecraft, recently completed design certification 
review for the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) program. The OSP is 
a NASA initiative to develop a crew rescue and transfer 
vehicle for the International Space Station.

DART is a space flight demonstrator designed to test 
technologies required for the OSP to locate and rendezvous 
with the Station. The DART is designed for autonomous 
operations. DART is controlled by computers, and it does not 
have a pilot. DART is NASA's first completely computer 
controlled, rendezvous capable spacecraft.

The design certification review is a lengthy technical 
analysis to verify the vehicle design with regard to safety, 
performance and functional requirements. The review evaluates 
the results of the project's planning and analysis throughout 
manufacturing, integration, and testing. The review is 
conducted when the vehicle design and drawings are complete.

"The review is a key accomplishment for the DART team," said 
Jim Snoddy, DART program manager at NASA's Marshall Space 
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "The team is pressing ahead 
to ready the vehicle for a 2004 launch. DART's demonstration 
of autonomous rendezvous technologies will be key for the 
development of the OSP and future reusable launch vehicles," 
Snoddy said.

Developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., the 
DART will be launched on a Pegasus rocket from an L-1011 jet 
aircraft. At approximately 40,000 feet over the Pacific 
Ocean, the Pegasus will be released with the DART spacecraft.

Once the DART vehicle is launched, some of the hardware and 
software tested will enable it to travel from a parking orbit 
around the Earth to rendezvous, or maneuver close to, a 
target satellite in space. When DART reaches the satellite, 
it will perform several close proximity operations. The 
entire 24-hour mission will be performed without a human 

The DART is the first of three flight-testing demonstrators. 
Other demonstrators for the OSP program include the X-37 
flight demonstrator developed by Boeing Expendable Launch 
Systems of Huntington Beach, Calif., and the launch pad abort 
demonstrator developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation of 

For information about NASA, on the Internet visit:


For information about NASA's OSP Program on the Internet, 



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