At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Orbital Sciences technicians check the bottom of the DART (Demonstration for Autonomous Rendezvous Technology) flight demonstrator as it is raised of its platform. The spacecraft was developed to prove technologies for locating and maneuvering near an orbiting satellite. Future applications of technologies developed by the DART project will benefit the nation in future space-vehicle systems development requiring in-space assembly, services or other autonomous rendezvous operations. Designed and developed for NASA by Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Va., the DART spacecraft will be launched on a Pegasus launch vehicle. At about 40,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean, the Pegasus will be released from Orbital’s Stargazer L-1011 aircraft, fire its rocket motors and boost DART into a polar orbit approximately 472 miles by 479 miles. Once in orbit, DART will rendezvous with a target satellite, the Multiple Paths, Beyond-Line-of-Site Communications satellite, also built by Orbital Sciences. DART will then perform several close proximity operations, such as moving toward and away from the satellite using navigation data provided by onboard sensors. DART is scheduled for launch no earlier than Oct. 18.