[ExI] Dawn Launch: Dawn has returned to the Pad

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Tue Sep 11 22:56:45 UTC 2007

Next and last try.

Dawn returning to the launch pad pics:

For some science on the two asteroids: Ceres and Vesta:

Onward to Launch! A more optimistic vision for this day, I think.
NEWS RELEASE: 2007-099
September 11, 2007   

Dawn One Step Away From Asteroid Belt Trip

The Dawn spacecraft completed the 25-kilometer (15-mile) journey from
Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Fla., to Pad-17B of the Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:10 a.m. EDT today. The launch period
for Dawn, NASA's eight-year, more than 5-billion-kilometer
(3.2-billion-mile) odyssey into the heart of the asteroid belt, opens
Sept. 26.

"From here, the only way to go is up," said Dawn project manager Keyur
Patel of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We are
looking forward to putting some space between Dawn and Mother Earth and
making some space history."

Dawn's goal is to characterize the conditions and processes of the solar
system's earliest epoch 4.5 billion years ago by investigating in detail
the massive asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.  They reside
between Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt. Scientists theorize these
were budding planets never given the opportunity to grow. However, Ceres
and Vesta each followed a very different evolutionary path during the
solar system's first few million years. By investigating two diverse
asteroids during the spacecraft's eight-year flight, the Dawn mission
aims to unlock some of the mysteries of planetary formation. Dawn will
be the first spacecraft to orbit an object in the asteroid belt and the
first to orbit two bodies after leaving Earth. Recent images taken by
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope raise further intriguing questions about
the evolution of these asteroids.

Now that the Dawn payload is atop the Delta II 7925-H, a heavier-lift
model of the standard Delta II that uses larger solid rocket boosters, a
final major test will be conducted. This integrated test of the Delta II
and Dawn working together will simulate all events as they will occur on
launch day, but without propellants aboard the vehicle.

The Sept. 26 launch window is 4:25 to 4:54 a.m. PDT (7:25 to 7:54 a.m.
EDT).  Should the launch be postponed 24 hours for any reason, the
launch window will extend from 4:20 to 4:49 a.m. PDT (7:20 to 7:49 a.m.
EDT).  For a 48-hour postponement, the launch window will be from 4:14
to 4:43 a.m. PDT (7:14 to 7:43 a.m EDT). Dawn's launch period closes
Oct. 15.

The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by JPL for the NASA
Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The University of California
Los Angeles is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Other
scientific partners include Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico;
German Aerospace Center, Berlin; Max Planck Institute for Solar System
Research, Katlenburg, Germany; and Italian National Institute of
Astrophysics, Palermo. Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va.,
designed and built the Dawn spacecraft. The NASA Launch Services Program
at Kennedy Space Center and the United Launch Alliance are responsible
for the launch of the Delta II.

Additional information about Dawn is online at:



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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