[ExI] Dawn launch (broken crane)

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Tue Jun 5 07:29:25 UTC 2007

Here is a press report that is circulated around regarding Dawn.
The June 30 launch will certainly not happen, but I don't know
if the managers have still in mind to launch it in July (early),
or set it back to September.



The photos of the processing of the spacecraft for the launch at
Cape Canaveral here, before the accident.


>A broken crane has stopped preparations for the June 30 launch of NASA's
>Dawn spacecraft from Pad-17A.
>The crane broke Wednesday and at least three days of work have been
>lost. The resulting delay could increase with each day that the crane is not
>repaired. It's not clear yet exactly when the launch will take place.
>"It's a day-for-day slip," Kennedy Space Center spokesman Bill Johnson
>said Friday.
>The crane mechanism sits on a gantry above the Delta II rocket. The part
>called the sheave nest, which guides cables, malfunctioned during the
>installation of a solid rocket booster.
>No damage to the rocket was reported, though the malfunction was
>described as "major."
>"What it did was stop the operation," said Johnson. "One crane does it
>The rocket was scheduled to be fueled Friday, he added. Additionally,
>the spacecraft must be mounted on the rocket.
>Dawn will visit two of the solar system's largest asteroids, which have
>remained intact since they formed. Ceres and Vesta are in the asteroid
>belt between Mars and Jupiter. They evolved very differently and could
>provide clues to the formation of our solar system.
>Neither NASA officials nor the Air Force could estimate when the crane
>would be repaired.
>"They've got everything but the spacecraft," said Johnson.


Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
INAF Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario (IFSI), Roma, ITALIA
Associate Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute (PSI), Tucson

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