The Dawn spacecraft launched 11 years ago to visit the two largest objects in the main asteroid belt. Get the latest updates on NASA missions, watch NASA TV live, and learn about our quest to reveal the unknown and benefit all humankind.
Dawn wasn't the first spacecraft to use ion propulsion, familiar to science-fiction fans as well as space enthusiasts, but it pushed the limits of this advanced propulsion's capabilities and stamina. The mission will end this fall, when the spacecraft runs out of hydrazine, which keeps it oriented and in communication with Earth. Dawn will use ion propulsion with interruptions of only a few hours each week to turn to point the spacecraft's antenna to Earth. Total thrust time to reach the first science orbit will be 979 days, with more than 2,000 days of thrust through entire the mission. The Dawn spacecraft launched 11 years ago to visit the two largest objects in the main asteroid belt. NASA.gov brings you the latest images, videos and news from America's space agency. Dawn isn't the first interplanetary mission to employ ion propulsion; NASA's Deep Space 1 probe and Japan's asteroid-sampling Hayabusa spacecraft also used ion thrusters. Dawn can no longer keep its antennae trained on Earth to communicate with mission control or turn its solar panels to the Sun to recharge. As a Discovery Program mission, Dawn combined innovative state-of-the-art technologies pioneered by other recent missions with off-the-shelf components and, in some cases, spare parts and instrumentation left over from previous missions. Die zum größten Teil fertiggestellte Raumsonde sollte eingelagert werden. This surpasses Deep Space 1's 678 days of ion propulsion operation by a long shot. Dear Indawnmitables, the Dawn mission remains on course as the spacecraft continues to thrust with its ion propulsion system, patiently, persistently, and gently changing its orbit to keep its appointment with protoplanet Vesta in two years. With ion propulsion, Dawn (and Deep Space 1 before it) were the exceptions, thrusting more often than coasting. Currently, it's in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, where it … Allerdings gab der Chef der NASA Michael Griffin kurz darauf bekannt, die Streichung der Mission befinde sich vorerst in Überprüfung. But readers who require a comparison with their car (or their spaceship) can credit Dawn with 63 million miles per gallon (0.0000038 liters per 100 kilometers, or 3.8 liters per 100 million kilometers). Die Mission wurde vom Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) ... März 2006 wurde bekanntgegeben, dass die Dawn-Mission gestrichen worden sei.