SpaceX Set to Launch NASA Asteroid Defense Mission

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HAWTHORNE, Calif.—Southland residents could get an impressive pre-holiday aerial light show the night of Nov. 23 when Hawthorne-based SpaceX attempts to launch a NASA planetary-defense mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc along the California central coast. Depending on visibility, night-time rocket launches from Vandenberg can often create dazzling light spectacles that can be seen across the Southland and much of Southern California. SpaceX launches can be particularly impressive, since the company pilots the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets back to Earth following separation from the spacecraft being launched into space. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 10:21 p.m. Tuesday, beginning NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission. The mission, sounding like a Hollywood movie plot, will intentionally crash a spacecraft into an asteroid to determine if such as effort can successfully change the asteroid’s course. The idea is to test the technology …

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