[ExI] Dawn non-launch (delay to September/October)

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Sun Jul 8 07:16:53 UTC 2007

Hello! Some non-news about Dawn's launch.

When I last gave a report, the launch was slipped to Sunday because of
worry that the thunderstorms/lightning in the area would be too
dangerous to fuel the tanks plus the tanks were too warm to begin. Then
the launch date slipped to Monday because of continuing concern with the
weather and the availability of the radar ship for post-launch tracking.

However the ship got delayed and the next set of launch days in July
were less favorable for giving enough data acquisition time at the
targets (Vesta and Ceres).

Therefore,  a new launch window (about 30 days) of September/October,
after other Cape Canaveral launch activities (Mars Phoenix, space
shuttle) is now the focus for Dawn's launch. The later launch date gives
more time at the targets, however the mission costs are building, and
that window is in the middle of hurricane season, but the Dawn managers
think that it is the best decision.

I don't know if the fueling of the tanks were actually started and if
Dawn is sitting, in the midst of the fueled tanks. Or not. I suspect
the thunderstorms blocked the decision to begin the fueling, but I am
unable to get official Dawn project email news here in Rome because our
IFSI mail server has been down all weekend. All of this info through
unofficial channels via Planetary Science Institute (M. Sykes).



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

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