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Planetary defense: ESA awards €129 million contract to German satellite maker for ‘Hera’ ANTI-ASTEROID system
The European Space Agency has awarded a contract worth 129.4 million ($153.3 million) to German satellite manufacturer OHB to lead the development of the pioneering Hera planetary defense mission.
Hera, named after the Greek goddess of marriage amd family, is Europe’s addition to international asteroid defense systems. The contract covers Hera’s design, integration and testing — and OHB will take the helm of a team of companies from 17 ESA member states all aiming for an October 2024 launch.
Today marks an important milestone for the #HeraMission to test #asteroiddeflection! ESA has awarded a 129.4 million contract covering the detailed design, manufacturing and testing of #Hera, our first mission for planetary defence https://t.co/WL3XqQaSYr #SpaceSafety pic.twitter.com/H43nnBaEGm— ESA (@esa) September 15, 2020
If all goes to plan, Hera will take up orbit around the remains of the so-called double or ‘binary’ asteroid system of Didymos and Dimorphos, using autonomous navigation systems not too dissimilar from those found in driverless cars here on Earth. The system comprises about 15 percent of all known asteroids.