Date: 27 Sep 2007
Just after sunrise, the Delta II rocket carrying NASA's Dawn spacecraft rose from its launch pad to begin its 1.7-billion-mile journey through the inner solar system to study giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. Both worlds are located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Liftoff was at 7:34 a.m. EDT from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Dawn's ambitious mission to orbit two worlds in a single mission would be impossible without ion propulsion, which it inherits from Deep Space 1, the first interplanetary mission to use this technology.
Credit: NASA/Tony Gray & Robert Murray