The first operational interplanetary launch by SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket was successful. The operation sent NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft out of the Earth-Moon system- considered as the world’s first planetary defense machine.
The SpaceX’s flight Falcon 9 booster made a lift-off at 10:21 pm PST along with an expendable upper stage. In addition to this, it had ~630 kilogram DART spacecraft to tow- This made the space flight reach the Earth’s low parking orbit a little late with approximately eight minutes.
And exactly, half a minute later, the second stage’s first engine cutoff booster B1063 made a safe landing on the ship- Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY). It wrapped up its third orbital-class launch and spaceflight in the last twelve months.
Post 28 minutes of the lift-off, Falcon 9’s orbital second stage fired up for the last time. It took only 53 seconds for the Falcon 9’s upper stage to accelerate from the earth’s velocity of 7.5 kilometers per second to almost 11.1 kilometers per second. This sent the DART from Low Earth Orbit to the Escape Trajectory that is supposed to leave them in orbit around the sun.
As the second Falcon hardware reaches interplanetary space, the upper stage gradually passivates itself. It ends up depressurizing and safing the batteries along with the flight termination systems. This is prepared to spend the remaining life orbiting the sun.
On the other hand, DART has merely begun its mission- it is designed to slam into the Dimorphos- the asteroid moon- not before September 2022 with a speed of 6.6 km per second. If it is successful, then the tiny DART spacecraft will prove that as long as we can spot the asteroid, they can be redirected by slamming the tiny spacecraft into them at high speeds.
Once proven effective, other space agencies and government organizations will decide to take the planetary defense approach seriously. It is alright to believe that with humanity through science, technology, and cooperation, we will be able to avoid many cosmic fates that had harmed the previous civilizations and dinosaurs (millions of years ago). Putting it plain and simple, if dinosaurs had spacecraft like DART to redirect the asteroids, they would have been still alive.
Given all that, we can infer that the CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, is motivated to found the company and pursue space flights for the sake of humanity. He aims to make the human species multi-planetary and even protect them from the destroying mass extinction events (like the ones that had befallen the dinosaurs).
It appears that the SpaceX Falcon 9 and DART have won the competition to prevent the cosmic fates from taking over our species.
If the DART spacecraft succeeds in its missions, NASA believes that it will be able to observe a change of 1.5% in Dimorphos’ Orbital Period (An orbital period means how long it takes to orbit Didymos) as observed by the Earth-based telescopes. Following the DART Mission, other asteroid missions like Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REX, there might be follow-up reconnaissance HERA missions, etc. It is believed that other space agencies besides NASA will team up and work together to defend the Earth’s orbit. They will work upon the spacecraft to intentionally destroy the asteroids threatening the Earth and its life forms. Thus, they will be successful in preventing catastrophic impacts on the Earth as the one that wiped out 75% of species and all the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
Falcon 9 and DART spacecraft against Dimorphos have so far proven themselves to be one of the best and first planetary defenses in history.