On late Friday the Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft experienced an orbit anomaly after a successful launch.
The craft did a successful rendezvous, acquisition of the target spacecraft and approached it within about 300 feet. But then DART placed itself in the retirement phase before completing all planned proximity operations, causing an abrupt end to the mission.
The DART spacecraft was a flight experiment attempting to establish autonomous rendezvous capabilities for the U.S. space program. While previous rendezvous and docking efforts have been piloted by astronauts, the DART spacecraft completed the rendezvous and acquisition with no human intervention, relying on a variety of sensors and analyses to complete these functions.