Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

NASA to embark on asteroid-belt mission (DAWN - launch set for just after sunrise Thursday 9/27/07)
AP on Yahoo ^ | 9/25/07 | Marcia Dunn - ap

Posted on 09/25/2007 6:51:42 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA is about to embark on an unprecedented asteroid-belt mission with a spacecraft aptly named Dawn.

The 3 billion-mile, eight-year journey to probe the earliest stages of the solar system will begin with liftoff, planned for just after sunrise Thursday. Rain is forecast, however, and could force a delay.

Scientists have been waiting for Dawn to rise since July, when the mission was put off because of the more pressing need to launch NASA's latest Mars lander, the Phoenix. Once Phoenix rocketed away in August, that cleared the way for Dawn.

"For the people in the Bahamas, on the 27th will be one day where they can say that Dawn will rise in the west," said a smiling Keyur Patel, project manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Dawn will travel to the two biggest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter — rocky Vesta and icy Ceres from the planet-forming period of the solar system.

Ceres is so big — as wide as Texas — that it's been reclassified a dwarf planet. The spacecraft will spend a year orbiting Vesta, about the length of Arizona, from 2011 to 2012, then fly to Ceres and circle there in 2015.

Dawn's three science instruments — a camera, infrared spectrometer, and gamma ray and neutron detector — will explore Vesta and Ceres from varying altitudes.

"In my view, we're going to be visiting some of the last unexplored worlds in the inner solar system," chief engineer Marc Rayman said Tuesday.

Because Vesta and Ceres are so different, researchers want to compare their evolutionary paths.

No one has ever attempted before to send a spacecraft to two celestial bodies and orbit both of them. It's possible now because of the revolutionary ion engines that will propel Dawn through the cosmos.

Dawn is equipped with three ion-propulsion thrusters. Xenon gas will be bombarded with electrons, and the resulting ions will be accelerated out into space, gently shoving the spacecraft forward at increasingly higher speeds.

"It really does emit this cool blue glow like in the science fiction movies," Rayman said.

NASA tested an ion engine aboard its Deep Space 1 craft, which was launched in 1998. Ion engines have been used on only about five dozen spacecraft, mostly commercial satellites.

Dawn also has two massive solar wings, nearly 65 feet from tip to tip, to generate power as it ventures farther from the sun. Ceres is about three times farther from the sun than Earth.

NASA put the cost of the mission at $357 million, but said that does not include the Delta II rocket. Officials refused Tuesday to provide the cost of the rocket, saying that was proprietary information.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: asteroidbelt; asteroids; ceres; dawnspacecraft; embark; ionpropulsion; mission; nasa; vesta
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last

1 posted on 09/25/2007 6:51:45 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Jet Propulsion Laboratory: http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/


2 posted on 09/25/2007 6:51:59 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KevinDavis

Ping to you, sir.


3 posted on 09/25/2007 6:54:22 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ferri; ShasheMac; brityank; Forest Keeper; swatbuznik; Potts Mtn. Pappy; Kevmo; wastedyears; ...

4 posted on 09/25/2007 6:55:27 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Mitt Romney 08)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

So how much does the DeltaII rocket cost? Any idea?


5 posted on 09/25/2007 6:58:28 PM PDT by Ken522
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Ken522
On the order of $60 million.
6 posted on 09/25/2007 7:01:41 PM PDT by Fitzcarraldo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Where will this be viewable?


7 posted on 09/25/2007 7:03:26 PM PDT by wastedyears (George Orwell was a clairvoyant.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fitzcarraldo

Thank you for such a speedy reply!


8 posted on 09/25/2007 7:04:07 PM PDT by Ken522
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: wastedyears

The Bahamas.. per the article. :-)

It’s blasting off from a Cape Canaveral pad..


9 posted on 09/25/2007 7:07:23 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

But I wanna view it in the northeast.


10 posted on 09/25/2007 7:07:54 PM PDT by wastedyears (George Orwell was a clairvoyant.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: wastedyears; All

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dawn/launch/index.html

Spacecraft: Dawn
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 17-B
Launch Date: September 27

Launch Window: 7:20 a.m. – 7:49 a.m. EDT


11 posted on 09/25/2007 7:08:16 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: wastedyears

you’re probably out of luck, not sure the trajectory will give ya a shot at it..


12 posted on 09/25/2007 7:09:48 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Some of the numbers in the article are confusing to me. Maybe you can clarify. It says at the beginning of the article that it is a 3 billion mile journey. Toward the bottom, it appears to say that Ceres is about three times farther from the sun than the earth is from the sun. This seems like a contradiction.


13 posted on 09/25/2007 7:33:49 PM PDT by Rocky (Dan Rather and the NYT: Fake but accurate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Delta / Dawn


14 posted on 09/25/2007 7:39:45 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rocky

OK, I’m NOT a Rocket Scientist... but I’ll give it a stab.

It may be distance as a crow flies vs. distance one needs to travel in order to reach an object.
or not.


15 posted on 09/25/2007 7:46:46 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Oh. I thought you were a rocket scientist. Nevermind.

(You’re probably right, though.)


16 posted on 09/25/2007 8:00:32 PM PDT by Rocky (Dan Rather and the NYT: Fake but accurate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: NonValueAdded

To take you to a mansion in the sky.


17 posted on 09/25/2007 9:34:24 PM PDT by saganite
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Live thread?

This is not the first asteroid mission. I am starting to lose count how many there have been.


18 posted on 09/26/2007 7:25:05 AM PDT by RightWhale (25 degrees today. Phase state change accomplished.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood, Fire, and Famine in the History of Civilization The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization

by Richard Firestone, Allen West, and Simon Warwick-Smith


19 posted on 09/26/2007 10:33:19 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

spaceflightnow.com

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2007

With the final touches now complete on the Dawn spacecraft, the future asteroid orbiter is counting down the remaining hours to blastoff at sunrise Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The beefed up United Launch Alliance Delta 2-Heavy rocket, equipped with larger solid-fuel boosters, is scheduled to thunder from pad 17B at 7:20 a.m. EDT (1120 GMT). The morning’s available launch window will extend to 7:49 a.m., giving a 29-minute period for the liftoff to occur.

Weather forecasters are predicting a 60 percent chance of acceptable conditions. Coastal rain showers and cumulus clouds over the launch area will be the chief worries.

The launch readiness review was conducted Tuesday morning. All systems were reported “go” except for one remaining technical concern about the clearance between the satellite’s high-gain antenna and the acoustic blankets inside the rocket’s nose cone during launch. Engineers completed their analysis and managers ruled Tuesday afternoon that there was no problem for flight.

Launch countdown operations will commence Wednesday evening. Retraction of the mobile service tower from around the 12-story rocket should be completed before midnight.

Thursday’s three-hour Terminal Countdown picks up at 4:20 a.m. EDT. The early-morning count includes fueling of the first stage with highly refined kerosene and supercold liquid oxygen propellants.

A standard pause at the T-minus 4 minute point will give launch managers the opportunity to survey the status before countdown clocks progress into the quickly paced final minutes that see the vehicle switch to internal power, the liquid oxygen tank pressurized and systems armed.

The main engine and six of the nine strap-on solid rocket motors ignite at liftoff to begin Dawn’s ride off the planet. The Delta 2-Heavy features slightly larger solid motors, originally developed for the more-powerful Delta 3 rocket.

Arcing eastward over the Atlantic Ocean, the six solid boosters lit on the ground extinguish 77 seconds into flight as the remaining three motors are ignited moments later. The half-dozen spent boosters are jettisoned at an altitude of 14 nautical miles to fall harmlessly into the sea. The air-lit motors burn out and separate two minutes, 40 seconds after liftoff when the rocket is about 39 nautical miles up.

“If you live in the Bahamas, this is one time you can tell your neighbor, with a straight face, that Dawn will rise in the west,” said Dawn Project Manager Keyur Patel of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Weather permitting, we are go for launch Thursday morning, a little after dawn.”

Once the solids are discarded, the kerosene-powered main engine will continue pushing the rocket above an altitude of 65 nautical miles. The spent stage then jettisons at T+plus 4 minutes, 31 seconds to let the hydrazine-fueled second stage propel the vehicle the rest of the way into space. The two-piece nose cone that shrouded Dawn during the trek through the atmosphere is shed just seconds after the second stage comes to life.

Nine minutes into the ascent, the second stage completes its initial firing. The Delta settles into a 100-nautical mile parking orbit along a trajectory that cruises above the central Atlantic before crossing Africa and the Indian Ocean. The second stage reignites its engine off the west coast of Australia at T+plus 51 minutes. The burn will last more than two-and-a-half-minutes as the rocket begins a northeasterly trek over Australia.

The solid-fueled kick motor that serves as the Delta’s third stage then spins up and pops free of the second stage to ignite for an 85-second firing to propel Dawn out of Earth orbit.

Dawn should be released from the rocket at 8:22 a.m. EDT, some 62 minutes after an on-time blastoff, while flying northeast of Australia near the Solomon Islands.

“After separation, the spacecraft will go through an automatic activating sequence, including stabilizing the spacecraft, activating flight systems and deploying Dawn’s two massive solar arrays,” said Patel. “Then and only then will the spacecraft energize its transmitter and contact Earth. We expect acquisition of signal to occur anywhere from one-and-a-half hours to three-and-a-half hours after launch.”


The launch will be in the dawn’s early light.


20 posted on 09/26/2007 12:15:25 PM PDT by RightWhale (25 degrees today. Phase state change accomplished.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
this is one time you can tell your neighbor, with a straight face, that Dawn will rise in the west,” said Dawn Project Manager Keyur Patel
What a cut-up that guy is. ;') If he's ever tellin' people that dawn rises in the east, he really needs to consider a new line of work, or adult ed classes, or something.
21 posted on 09/26/2007 6:56:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Profile updated Wednesday, September 12, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
It's possible now because of the revolutionary ion engines that will propel Dawn through the cosmos.

It's also very slow. Leave to NASA to make space exploration extremely dull.

22 posted on 09/26/2007 7:06:11 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
Bump good morning.

http://www.nasa.gov/ram/35037main_portal.ram


http://www.nasa.gov/55644main_NASATV_Windows.asx

The Rocket is fueled, on the pad venting, weather looks green.

23 posted on 09/27/2007 3:31:08 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Holding @ T - 10


24 posted on 09/27/2007 4:06:52 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Everything looks good so far.


25 posted on 09/27/2007 4:07:30 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ChadGore

Good morning!


26 posted on 09/27/2007 4:08:20 AM PDT by cabojoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: cabojoe

FOX NEWS just showed a shot. looks like they’ll show it.


27 posted on 09/27/2007 4:12:28 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: cabojoe

Everything looks good. Rocket fueled, T-10 hold, weather is green.


28 posted on 09/27/2007 4:13:35 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: cabojoe

T - 4


29 posted on 09/27/2007 4:13:52 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: ChadGore

New T 0...Range fouled, ship or boat offshore.


30 posted on 09/27/2007 4:16:26 AM PDT by cabojoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Probable 7:27 listoff.


31 posted on 09/27/2007 4:18:14 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: KevinDavis

Hey KevinDavis! Are you watching?


32 posted on 09/27/2007 4:19:23 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ChadGore

I don’t know man, it looks like it just vented all of its fuel load there.


33 posted on 09/27/2007 4:19:42 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Holding @ T-4


34 posted on 09/27/2007 4:20:03 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: raygun

It look like it’s on fire, doesn’t it? lol


35 posted on 09/27/2007 4:20:41 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: raygun

T 0 = 7:34 AM


36 posted on 09/27/2007 4:21:19 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: All

Look like they are gonna launch just past the bottom of the hour.


37 posted on 09/27/2007 4:22:29 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: ferri; ShasheMac; brityank; Forest Keeper; swatbuznik; Potts Mtn. Pappy; Kevmo; wastedyears
Launch ping.
38 posted on 09/27/2007 4:23:51 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ChadGore
Oh, wait a second....

Those are clouds

Whew! Looked like a major malfunction of the LOX vent.

39 posted on 09/27/2007 4:24:49 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: ChadGore

T-4 mins ! T-4 mins !


40 posted on 09/27/2007 4:29:14 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: raygun

. . . T - 3:59


41 posted on 09/27/2007 4:30:02 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: ChadGore

launch hold released!


42 posted on 09/27/2007 4:30:24 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: raygun
http://www.nasa.gov/ram/35037main_portal.ram


http://www.nasa.gov/55644main_NASATV_Windows.asx

The Rocket is fueled, on the pad venting, weather looks green.

43 posted on 09/27/2007 4:32:38 AM PDT by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans. We Vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: All

Gentlemen, start your engines!


44 posted on 09/27/2007 4:34:22 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: All

9700 MPH, 52 miles altitude


45 posted on 09/27/2007 4:38:31 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: raygun

MECO, fairing jettison, stage II ignition, 80 miles alt, 532 downrange, 1432 MPH


46 posted on 09/27/2007 4:40:21 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

Ping Ba-ding


47 posted on 09/27/2007 4:40:24 AM PDT by Armed Civilian ("Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: raygun

48 posted on 09/27/2007 4:42:57 AM PDT by cabojoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Armed Civilian

SECO


49 posted on 09/27/2007 4:43:30 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: All

Confirmed: DAWN is in orbit (specs 100.6 apogee, 99.x miles perigee) “Can’t get get any better than that”


50 posted on 09/27/2007 4:46:13 AM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson