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Dart, or demonstration for autonomous rendezvous technology, was a nasa sponsored project with the goal to develop and demonstrate an automated navigation and rendezvous capability in a nasa spacecraft. at the time of the dart mission, only the russian space agency had autonomous space craft navigation. orbital sciences corporation (osc) was the prime contractor for construction, launch and operation of the dart vehicle with a project cost of $95 million us(2005). the contract was awarded in june 2001 and the spacecraft was launched on april 15, 2005. the mission ended prematurely, very shortly after an anomalous slow-velocity collision with its target spacecraft, having completed less than half of the original mission autonomous rendezvous objectives.