Diamond Antenna Rotary Joint Helps NASA/John Hopkins Hit Target

NASA leads efforts in the U.S. and worldwide both to detect and track potentially hazardous asteroids and to study technologies to mitigate or avoid impacts on Earth. NASA’s DART is the first mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection using a kinetic impactor – a high-velocity spacecraft that deflects the asteroid by ramming into it, altering the asteroid’s orbit slightly so that it misses Earth.

Diamond Antenna’s WR-112 U-style single channel waveguide spaceflight rotary joint was recently used onboard NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Impactor Spacecraft – the world’s first planetary defense mission aimed at deflecting asteroids headed for Earth. After 10 months of flying in space, DART successfully impacted its first asteroid target, Dimorphos, on Monday September 26, 2022.  

Diamond Antenna’s WR-112 waveguide rotary joint model 22-747-0 was used on a new type of high-gain communication antenna to track earth on the final approach with the asteroid. The circularly-polarized antenna operates at X-band NASA Deep Space Network frequencies. The fabricated antenna and Diamond’s spaceflight rotary joint exceed mission requirements and have been tested through extreme environments and dynamic conditions.

Diagram of the DART spacecraft striking the asteroid target Dimorphos.

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