The first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system, to examine the aftermath of the first kinetic impact test of asteroid deflection
In the world’s first test of asteroid deflection, Hera will perform a detailed post-impact survey of the target asteroid, Dimorphos – the orbiting Moonlet in a binary asteroid system known as Didymos. Once NASA’s DART mission has impacted the moonlet, Hera will turn the grand-scale experiment into a well-understood and repeatable planetary defence technique. Demonstrating new technologies from autonomous navigation around an asteroid to low gravity proximity operations, Hera will be humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system and Europe’s flagship Planetary Defender.
Hera Launch: October 2024
Impact date: September 2022
Hera rendezvous: December 2026