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NASA | Dawn Mission - Discussion and Updates

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posted on Jun, 25 2007 @ 04:05 AM

[color=#3099ff]Dawn Spacecraft Prepares for Launch July 7, 2007
Spacecraft Mated to Third Stage, and Second Stage Mated to First Stage, June 18 - 22

[color=#3099ff]NASA | [color=#3099ff]JPL | Dawn Mission Video

Google Video Link

[color=#3099ff]Mission Overview | Summarized by Majik Ninja
Many ATSers have been caught off-guard with NASA's recent announcement of this project. If previous news of this mission was announced, many of us must have missed it.

The Dawn spacecraft will utilize ion propulsion to investigate two of the most scientifically interesting bodies in the asteroid belt - Ceres and Vesta. The two planetoids have interested scientists for years, speculating the existence of water. Dawn will be the fastest spacecraft ever constructed, serving as man's first inter-planetary probe.

Launch day is currently set for July 7th.

This thread will house current updates to the Dawn Mission and track its flight. General discussion about the spacecraft, the mission, and related current events are also encouraged.

Related ATS Thread | Nibirus approach Clear Image sostyles
Related ATS Thread | NASA reinstates cancelled Dawn asteroid probe cmdrkeenkid
Related ATS Thread | Hubble Images Dawn Asteroids iori_komei
Related ATS Thread | Phone E.T.:Send a message to space - NASA-JPL ok's... Outrageo

[edit on 6/25/2007 by damajikninja]

posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 02:11 AM
[color=#3099ff]DATED: JUNE 13 2007

Dawn spacecraft damaged but still set for launch
* 20:37 13 June 2007
* news service
* David Shiga

NASA managers got a scare this week when a wayward wrench damaged the Dawn spacecraft. But the mission's chief scientist says the damage can be fixed in time for the spacecraft's planned 7 July launch.

"Whoa, there buddy! Watch it with that wrench!"

Good news is that they are going to be able to fix it and still be on time for launch.

This article was posted back on the 13th, so it certainly isn't "breaking" news. I just thought that a little back story from a couple weeks ago couldn't hurt.

[color=#3099ff]Still GO for Launch!
Launch Date: July 7th, 2007


[color=#3099ff]RELATED READING
So what happens in the next few days preceding launch?

The following article details all the sequences of launch down to the letter. If you are curious about what to expect on launch day, be sure to read the full article on the source page.

[color=#3099ff]SOURCE |

Countdown To Dawn
by Dr. Marc D. Rayman
Cape Canaverl FL (SPX) Jun 27, 2007

Now only two weeks away from its planned launch, Dawn is eagerly awaiting the beginning of its cosmic adventure. Once the xenon and hydrazine propellants were loaded the spacecraft was ready for its final balancing and weighing. As we will see below (that direction applies only for those of you reading this in a gravitational field), during part of its flight on the Delta 7925H-9.5 rocket, the spacecraft will be spun, and it is crucial that it satisfy certain requirements on how well balanced it is so the rocket remains stable.

posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 03:22 AM
Thanks for the update. Very interesting indeed.

What is NASA up to this time?

Sending another telescope to spy on civilians or are they truly looking into space?

I was wondering how far away Ceres and Vesta are. How long will it take this satellite to reach its specified position?

posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:01 AM
It will take it about 4 years or so to make it over to the asteroid belt, which is located beyond the solar orbit of mars.

The purpose of the Dawn Mission is to visit two of the largest and most interesting asteroids (Ceres and Vesta) in hopes of learning more about how our solar system was formed.

Be sure to watch the embedded video about Project Dawn - it's full of good information about the probe.

posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 04:14 AM
It's worth noting that four years is a relatively long time as far as getting to the asteroid belt is concerned. However, this is because DAWN is taking a long, slow route (courtesy of its Ion propulsion system). It will make two full orbits of the Sun in that four year journey to the asteroid 4 Vesta, including a gravity assist from Mars in March 2009.

posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 01:22 AM
[color=#3099ff]Dawn Mission Status | One Month in Review

Just wanted to catch everyone up on what's been happening during the past few weeks.

Spacecraft Mated to Third Stage, and Second Stage Mated to First Stage
June 18 - 22
The spacecraft was connected to the third stage of the launch vehicle at Astrotech. At Space Launch Complex 17B, the second stage was lifted into place on the first stage.

Hydrazine Loaded, Spin Test Completed, Operations Rehearsals Conclude
June 11 - 15
Hydrazine propellant, used as one means to rotate the spacecraft in space, was loaded. Spin tests were completed and balance masses were added to the spacecraft. During preparations for the spin tests, minor damage to the back of a solar panel occurred when a tool made inadvertent contact with it. The small affected area was patched over the weekend, and the process did not affect the launch date.

The mission operations team conducted more simulations of activities to be conducted in flight. The entire set of simulations to be executed before launch has now been completed.

New Launch Date Set, Xenon Loaded, Operations Rehearsals Conducted
June 4 - 8, 2007
Because of delays in assembling Dawn's rocket at Cape Canaveral, Dawn's new launch date is July 7. Xenon propellant for the ion propulsion system was loaded into the spacecraft. Meanwhile, the mission operations team conducted additional simulations of launch and early flight activities.

Dawn Spacecraft Prepared for Fueling
May 28 - June 1, 2007
In preparation for loading xenon and hydrazine propellants, the Dawn spacecraft was moved to the fueling area at Astrotech.


[color=#3099ff]Ion Propulsion | Description & Charts

Ion propulsion makes efficient use of the onboard fuel by accelerating it to a velocity ten times that of chemical rockets.

[edit on 6/29/2007 by damajikninja]

posted on Sep, 5 2007 @ 03:52 PM
Dawn Update:

Just noticed this blurb, at the end of an article
by Patrick Peterson at The Flame Trench,
and thought I'd throw it up here, since my updates on the
Phoenix thread may be missed due to the thread title.

The Atlas delay is not expected to move the
Sept. 26 launch of the Dawn spacecraft
on a $450 million mission to the asteroid belt.
(emphasis mine)

It appears an official launch date has been set.
Also listed Here on , which was Updated -- Aug 29, 2007 - 9:15 a.m. EDT

Sept. 26 Dawn
The Dawn Mission will be the first time a spacecraft will orbit two planetary bodies
on a single voyage as it studies Ceres and Vesta.
Launch window: 7:25 to 7:54 a.m. EDT
(emphasis mine)

Ok, damajikninja , keep us current.

Oh yea, keep in mind, the ATS picture size restrictions.
(All images must remain at or below 680 pixels wide/tall
AND no larger than 200K)

[edit on 5-9-2007 by Jbird]

posted on Sep, 19 2007 @ 12:57 PM
[color=#80c0e0]DAWN UPDATE | Sitting on the Launch Pad

In this NASA image taken from within the mobile service station atop the launch tower, scientists remove the protective casing from Dawn. They are running pre-launch checks, diagnostics, and general "check ups" in preparation for flight.

So, Dawn is now mated to its Delta II rocket, is being prepped for flight, and is sitting on the 17-B launch pad at Cape Canaveral. The launch window opens up Sep. 26 and runs through early Oct.

Keep your fingers crossed and we might just get this puppy off the ground!

Be sure to check for official information.

to my buddy JBird for the last update, and for letting me run the Dawn thread... it should be pointed out that he started the first Dawn thread (which I missed when I opened this one). Be sure to check out his thread covering the Phoenix Mission to Mars.

[edit on 9/19/2007 by damajikninja]

posted on Sep, 19 2007 @ 03:15 PM

Originally posted by damajikninja

and for letting me run the Dawn thread...

I don't think I'd put it quite that way, d' ,

No permission inferred or needed.

It just makes sense, to keep the Dawn updates, under a Dawn title,
so I've no problem posting what I find, over here, regardless of thread dates.

I'm just happy to see the next gen. taking an interest in all things space.

posted on Sep, 19 2007 @ 07:07 PM
I'm quite looking forward to the information they are going to get from Ceres, i'll be turning thirty when the mission arrives at it's destination though

C'mon someone come up with FTL already....

posted on Sep, 20 2007 @ 05:59 PM

Dawn Spacecraft Returned to Launch Pad
September 10 - 14

On September 11, Dawn and the mated third stage were moved from Astrotech to Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 17B where they were hoisted into place atop the second stage of the Delta launch
vehicle. Brief tests of the spacecraft subsystems showed Dawn to be in good health. As part of the planned preparations for launch on September 26, the Kevlar cords that have held the solar arrays in their stowed position since prior to the planned June/July launch were replaced with fresh ones, and the new cords were adjusted to the correct tension for launch.

SOURCE | |

Check the source link for an ongoing list of official status updates. We're now less than a week away from launch!

posted on Sep, 20 2007 @ 06:32 PM

Originally posted by Jbird
Oh yea, keep in mind, the ATS picture size restrictions.
(All images must remain at or below 680 pixels wide/tall
AND no larger than 200K)

**Smacks Forehead** Argh! I had no idea what you were talking about until now! Haha! I just realized that the image is over 800px wide! Man o man.

I just alerted on myself, and provided a re-edited version of the image to be used.

Thanks Jbird!

posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 09:25 PM
[color=#80c0e0]Launch Pushed Back to Sep. 27

NASA says that weather delayed the fueling of the Delta II rocket, and that kept them from being able to hit the Sep. 26 launch date. Everything is still in working order, the weather just set them back a day.

In this image, NASA technicians are installing the "fairings", a protective casing so-to-speak that encapsulates Dawn and provides an aerodynamic shell.

As always, check for further official information.

[edit on 9/23/2007 by damajikninja]

posted on Sep, 26 2007 @ 01:24 PM

NASA Spacecraft Is a Go for Asteroid Belt


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Launch and flight teams are in final preparations for the planned Sept. 27 liftoff from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., of NASA's Dawn mission. The Dawn spacecraft will venture into the heart of the asteroid belt, where it will document in exceptional detail the mammoth rocky asteroid Vesta, and then, the even bigger icy dwarf planet Ceres.

SOURCE | |

Image right: Inside the mobile service tower on Launch Pad 17-B at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, technicians secure both halves of the fairing
around the Dawn spacecraft to the upper stage booster of the Delta II
rocket below. Image credit: NASA

+ Larger view

Tomorrow is the day! I'm sure NASA TV will cover the launch... I'll post links to any live feeds I may find tomorrow.

[edit on 9/26/2007 by damajikninja]

posted on Sep, 26 2007 @ 09:25 PM
Finally ! Nothing but the weather stands in the way , now.
60% favorable, with chance of morning showers.

Looks like an early launch, so I thought I'd give this a last, late night bump.

The 13-story rocket, which is equipped with supersized solid rocket boosters,
is scheduled to blast off from Launch Complex 17 on the south end of the Cape
at 7:20 a.m. EDT.
The launch window will extend until 7:49 a.m. EDT.

The Flame Trench

Scheduled for live coverage on NASA TV, tomorrow.

Live Webcast at The Flame Trench as well...

Live NASA TV coverage of the countdown and launch will be webcast here in The Flame Trench
beginning at 5:15 a.m. EDT.

*fingers crossed, tray stored, seat in upright position*...

posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 06:22 AM
Launch on hold at T minus 4 minutes.

Seems to be a boat in the SRB splashdown area.

Just wanted to bump this for those interested in watching the liftoff.

New launch time 7:34.

posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 06:31 AM
Countdown, back on , 4 min to go!

posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 08:26 AM
Successful launch!

4th (final) stage separation, is now complete.

All systems nominal.

Dawn is deployed, and "on it's way" to a Mars slingshot (2009),
then, to the asteroid belt and Vesta, in 2011.

Another amazing accomplishment for the NASA folks. Good luck Dawn.

Post-launch news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST, on NASA TV.

posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 12:55 PM
Conference was relatively short.

Jim Adams, a NASA deputy director, began with comments of, "a near perfect launch".

Keyur Patel, Dawn Project Manager, explained the 15 minute countdown hold, due to
an "errant boat" , which strayed into 'downstream' waters.

Dawn Principal Investigator, Dr. Christopher Russel of UCLA, arrived late,
to take some of the more technical questions,
and offered up these answers, about the beginning of Dawn.

-Data check-ins are expected to be weekly , with additional communications, at times of interest.

-Testing of the Ion engines, will begin in about 5 days.

-Testing of on board Science instruments has already begun.

-Solar arrays have deployed successfully.

-Some pictures of stars, will be taken enroute to Mars flyby, in Feb. 2009

Should be able to view the conference replay on the
mission page, eventually.

posted on Sep, 28 2007 @ 04:13 AM
This is excellent news. I have always wanted to see photos of some of the large asteroids from close range, so hopefully this will be a successful mission.

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