National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
Dawn Spacecraft Successfully Launched
Dawn Spacecraft Successfully Launched
27 Sep 2007
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The Dawn spacecraft launched successfully from the launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Image credit: NASA TV
The Dawn spacecraft launched successfully from the launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Image credit: NASA TV
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's Dawn spacecraft began its 3 billion kilometer (1.7 billion mile) journey through the inner solar system to study a pair of asteroids Thursday at 7:34 a.m. Eastern Time (4:34 a.m. Pacific Time).

The Delta 2 rocket, fitted with nine strap-on solid-fuel boosters, safely climbed away from the Florida coastline and launch complex 17B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. "We have our time machine up and flying," said Dawn Principal Investigator Christopher Russell of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dawn is scheduled to begin its exploration of Vesta in 2011 and Ceres in 2015. The two icons of the asteroid belt are located in orbit between Mars and Jupiter and have been witness to so much of our solar system's history.

By using the same set of instruments at two separate destinations, scientists can more accurately formulate comparisons and contrasts. Dawn's science instrument suite will measure shape, surface topography and tectonic history, elemental and mineral composition as well as seek out water-bearing minerals.

A critical milestone for the spacecraft comes in acquiring its signal. The launch team expects that to occur in approximately 2-3 hours.

For the latest information about Dawn and its mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/dawn


Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-393-9011/818-354-5011

2007-110

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
 
 
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 27 Sep 2007