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#1 2005-03-07 13:01:05

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

$370 million mission

*Are the two most massive asteroids in the Solar System; "protoplanets really."  Are within the Asteroid Belt.

Will be first spacecraft to ever orbit 2 separate objects in our Solar System (article says orbiting Earth doesn't count).

Has an ion engine -- without it, this mission wouldn't be possible.  In fact, they comment that this could be one of the most dangerous and difficult orbital missions yet attempted.  :up:

It uses solar electricity to ionize xenon atoms and then hurl them out the back of the spacecraft. The thrust is tiny but fuel efficient, and the engine can keep running for months or even years providing a tremendous velocity.

And an ion engine gives controllers flexibility.

4 to 5 years' travel time to Vesta (during which Dawn *might* do a flyby of Mars), the first "stop" -- arriving in 2010 or 2011.  Then on to Ceres (will take another 3 years to reach it).

Article discusses possible differences between C and V as we know them today.

It has a suite of scientific instruments on board to study the two asteroids in great detail: their mass, volume, spin rate, chemical and elemental composition, and gravity. Oh, and it'll be taking pretty pictures too.

--Cindy

P.S.:  Vesta is the brightest asteroid in our Solar System, and is the only asteroid within the Asteroid Belt (as opposed to "wandering asteroids") which can be seen with the unaided eye.

Official Dawn Mission Page


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#2 2005-03-07 14:28:56

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid14]I had remembered some months back that another thread had this subject Vesta & Uranus of which the Nasa site you had found while I had the university one.

Would it be possible for another of the mars missions to do a flyby before going to mars? ???[/color:post_uid14]

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#3 2005-03-07 15:58:47

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

[color=#810541:post_uid4]

I had remembered some months back that another thread had this subject Vesta & Uranus[/quote:post_uid4]
*Well, not really.  SpaceNut, that thread was created to draw attention to a temporary astronomy event/occurrence which is now over.  You did introduce the Dawn mission into that thread and I responded, but the purpose of that thread -- a temporary astronomy event not related to Dawn -- has already been served.  smile

--Cindy[/color:post_uid4]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#4 2005-03-07 20:37:54

hubricide
Member
Registered: 2004-07-26
Posts: 49

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I've never really read up on the asteroid belt..  Are there any leading theories as to how it was formed?  Why would there be a bunch of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter?  Planet that got hit by a huge asteroid way back when?  A bunch of stuff that accreted into smaller pieces way back when and just never joined into a big ball?  I wonder how big a planet would those asteroids would make..[/color:post_uid0]

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#5 2005-03-07 20:42:28

hubricide
Member
Registered: 2004-07-26
Posts: 49

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I'll answer my own questions.  According to wikipedia.org (The Asteroid Belt) the gravity of Jupiter prevented the stuff near the inside of its orbit from ever accreting into anything of any real size.  And apparently the mass of all the asteroids would be smaller than Pluto.  So much for the 'destroyed planet' theory.  It was a nice idea.  smile  Also the 'asteroid belt' really is hardly populated by any asteroids at all, such that you'd be unlikely to even see an asteroid if you flew through the area yourself.  Bummer.[/color:post_uid0]

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#6 2005-11-11 20:45:26

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Dawn staff ordered to "stand down", preperation slowed, launch delayed

I hope this one eventually takes off. I've heard that Ceres has just as much water in it as the Earth does.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#7 2005-11-12 06:20:34

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Would it be possible for another of the mars missions to do a flyby before going to mars? ???

*No.  They're both located in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and of course upcoming Mars missions won't travel beyond Mars.

"They basically said that we should slow down or almost stop the development while they decide to take a look at it and make an investigation," Russell said. "They got concerned by the number of problems that they saw that we were having."

Tom Fraschetti, Dawn's project manager at JPL, said the problems largely arose in the development of Dawn's ion propulsion system.

The Deep Space-1 mission, launched in 1998, proved the ion propulsion system as a technology demonstration. But Dawn would be the first science mission to use the system.

"We have to be sure that it has the reliability to last 10 years," Fraschetti said. The team has used the same drawings to build the system, but, he said, "the electronics module actually wasn't packaged in a way that it was easily reproduced. That made it very difficult" and delayed the system's completion.

Fraschetti said it's reasonable for NASA to be giving the project more scrutiny. But, he added, "as a project, we're not jumping for joy over it."

Disappointing news all the way around, yes...but better safe than sorry.  neutral

On a much brighter note [was quite surprised to read this]:

Russell said the good news is that Dawn's launch window is unusually forgiving. The spacecraft could launch anytime through the middle of 2007 and still arrive at its destinations on schedule.

Wonderful!  ::relief::  smile

Russell said he feels as though the team had been running a race and then suddenly was told to stop to finish the race another day.

"It's really disappointing to have this happen," he said. "We were going full bore. You lose a lot of momentum, and it will be difficult to get that momentum back."

You'll get it back. 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#8 2006-01-22 05:55:22

EuroLauncher
Member
From: Europe
Registered: 2005-10-19
Posts: 299

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

High costs, technical issues put asteroid mission on hold
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/space/3603379.html
NASA scrubs mission to explore solar system's largest asteroids
NASA's Dawn Asteroid mission scrubbed, article from chicagotribune

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#9 2006-01-24 22:17:29

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

I am very disappointed with these costs and engineering problems. Though it will not make the 2006 it may still get a chance for launch in 2007 possibly.

NASA may pull plug on Dawn asteroid mission

Spiralling costs
Approved in December 2001, Dawn was supposed to cost no more than $300 million, including launch and mission operations. When launch costs rose, NASA approved spending $371 million, but that was the limit.

However, several problems have pushed cost upwards, including weaker-than-expected tanks holding xenon for the ion drive, and issues with the drive's power source. "We thought we should give NASA a warning" that it might be up to $40 million further over budget, Christopher Russell at the University of Los Angeles, US, and principal investigator for the Dawn mission

This is a project worth this small over run if successful.

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#10 2006-03-03 06:49:59

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#11 2006-03-03 06:59:14

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Well with the New shp in the CEV costs and shuttle problems this has lead to a decreasing of the available funds. Thus causing many things to be delayed or cancelled.
NASA cancels mission to study two asteroids

This is sad to know that five months after the program was put on hold for cost overruns and technical problems. But how much will the save since so much has already been spent just to get to this point...

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#12 2006-03-03 14:59:26

Yang Liwei Rocket
Member
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Here's what could be happening with the new NASA budget -

Delayed indefinitely - the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a to 2.shch-.metre infrared telescope built into a boeing 747 plane, will be put under "review" because it is behind schedule. It has been given no funding for the foreseeable future
Dawn mission has been cut down. Late January, NASA postponed Dawn, but word is that it is now canceled.
Cancelled/Delayed indefinitely - Mars research has been cut by $243.3 million to $700.2 million. This reflects the cancellation or indefinite postponement of missions such as the Mars Sample Return Mission and the Mars Telecommunications Orbiter.


There are many other missions and projects that have been chopped but the list is too long for me to post in this thread


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#13 2006-03-03 18:22:01

EuroLauncher
Member
From: Europe
Registered: 2005-10-19
Posts: 299

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Letter from PSI Director Sykes to House Science Committee Chair Boehlert Regarding Cancellation of NASA's Dawn Mission
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=19838
I was shocked that after testifying before your Committee yesterday, the first thing Dr. Mary Cleave did upon returning to her office at NASA Headquarters was to cancel the Dawn Discovery mission. She made no mention of her intention to do this while testifying. At your meeting, missions were grouped into Flagship, medium and small, and all of your panelists accepted prioritization where they would delay or sacrifice larger missions in order to preserve basic research programs and smaller missions. In solar system exploration, Dawn is one of these small missions (the recently selected Juno mission falls into the medium category and the delayed Europa mission falls into the Flagship category). The Dawn PI, Dr. Christopher T. Russell, was notified of this action by NASA while attending his mother's funeral.

The Dawn mission was to be launched in June 2006 to rendezvous with two surviving protoplanets in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter -the largest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta. Both objects were frozen in early stages of planet formation and evolution. Vesta accreted closer to the sun, was dry, and subsequently melted, resulting in the formation of a metallic core and basaltic volcanism on its surface. There is meteoritic evidence to suggest it's core may have produced a dynamo, like the Earth's. Ceres accreted at a greater distance from the sun and formed a rocky core with an ice rich mantle. Models suggest that Ceres may have a subsurface ocean, like Europa, which raises the question of whether life could have arisen beneath its surface.

Dawn was to be the first US science mission to use solar electric propulsion, first tested in interplanetary flight by the Deep Space 1 technology demonstration mission. Dawn represents another substantial European investment in a US solar system exploration mission. Germany is providing a double framing camera and Italy is providing a mapping spectrometer. The third instrument is a gamma- ray/neutron spectrometer provided by Los Alamos National Labs. Needless to say, the Europeans are furious with the US at this peremptory action by NASA.

Considering the concern raised at the hearing yesterday about the poor reputation of NASA as an international partner, which reflects poorly on the US, cancelling Dawn is a surprise at that level as well.

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#14 2006-03-05 15:44:28

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Letter from PSI Director Sykes ...

<snip>

Considering the concern raised at the hearing yesterday about the poor reputation of NASA as an international partner, which reflects poorly on the US, cancelling Dawn is a surprise at that level as well.

Clearly Sykes doesn't read this forum or he wouldn't be surprised - this mission has been in trouble for over three months.

ps. I'll resist making a joke about Dawn breaking.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#15 2006-03-05 16:40:06

Yang Liwei Rocket
Member
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Don't jump the gun yet, most NASA projects do become cost over-runs because they require difficult new designs and invention of non-existing equipment and ground breaking tech, most NASA missions are cutting-edge detectors and craft are usually  behind schedule because nothing like them had been built.

Today we see budget cuts but these type of cuts could spread to other missions
2006 budget supports  the CEV, but they already made a threat to cut down Voyager, NuSTAR was knocked back, plans for new EELVs have been dumped, SOFIA cut, beancounters at NASA work that with SDLVs there might not be enough demand to fly a heavy-lift vehicle on a daily basis, Constellation & CEV were in danger during the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 as the panel thought about a slash to funds, also MTO got axed plus there are many more problems such as getting the Shuttle to return, in the recent state of union address Bush did not utter the 'NASA' word once.

Under the current climate with rising debts from Iraq, the Katrina fiasco and large deficts people could ask what mission really is safe ?


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#16 2006-03-05 22:24:35

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

What is really poor in choice about this overrun is it would require 40 million possibly extra to complete while it is estimated that it would cost another 10 million to box it up for storage.

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#17 2006-03-07 06:01:02

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Under the current climate with rising debts from Iraq, the Katrina fiasco and large deficts people could ask what mission really is safe ?

Yes it is all hopeless. China has postponed  Shenzhou-7 because it is unsafe, Klipper may be cancelled, ExoMars is late, Beagle crashed ... did you know that Apollo was cancelled too? And don't forget the bird flu is spreading, and global warming is getting worse and the greenland ice sheet is melting, and wars are everywhere. And now a new solar cycle is starting that is worse than the last one. And it's all the fault of the NASA and Bush. Space exploration is just too hard and dangerous. Let's give it all up.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#18 2006-03-08 00:18:49

Yang Liwei Rocket
Member
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

You don't need to tell people here how space is important - we are all space fans here !

NASA does however depend on current US economics and general public support from non-space fans, NASA has done some of the greatest things in Space and wonderful missions is the past like Viking, Apollo and Voyager but today's Shuttle is eating NASA's budget and missions like MTO getting cancelled has some worried.


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#19 2006-03-09 06:04:31

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

*Cancellation of the DAWN mission is being placed on hold pending review by Mr. Griffin. 

Read me

After all the $, work and effort so far -- c'mon, Mr. Griffin, give us this mission back!


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#20 2006-03-19 02:05:41

EuroLauncher
Member
From: Europe
Registered: 2005-10-19
Posts: 299

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

*Cancellation of the DAWN mission is being placed on hold pending review by Mr. Griffin. 

Read me

After all the $, work and effort so far -- c'mon, Mr. Griffin, give us this mission back!

some good news at last !

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#21 2006-03-19 14:12:38

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

I think that given how close they are, and the value of this mission, it will fly.

This is really our first trip to the asteroid belt, and once inside it we'll learn alot more about it as a whole on top of Ceres and Vista, which are really gateways to the outer solar system.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#22 2006-03-27 17:21:18

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#23 2006-03-28 04:02:35

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

Wow, That's unexpectedly good news, yay for Griffin, it looks like he does have a knack to make hard decisions (delaying or scrapping missions) and an even better knack of reconsidering decisions already made...

What a relief to have a guy like him at the helm!


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#24 2006-03-28 04:07:44

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

BTW: Dr. Mary Cleave, I hope you lose some sleep over this, and when you do fall asleep, have sweet dreams about pink slips, knowing it was your call to scrap the mission, and you've been OVERRULED!  :twisted:


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#25 2006-03-28 06:10:50

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Dawn - Vesta & Ceres orbiter

*Elated!  smile  Go DAWN!


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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