According to today's Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report from Kennedy Space Center, "[Dawn's] flight readiness review was completed on Tuesday. All technical issues were cleared." Hooray! It continues: "Mission managers will hold a teleconference on Wednesday to discuss the availability of telemetry assets. If it is determined there are sufficient aircraft and ship assets available, the team will proceed with propellant loading on Thursday." So, there is still some concern about having the downrange tracking capability available to monitor the rocket after the launch; and they still have until Thursday to decide whether to take the plunge and load the second stage with hydrazine propellant. I have also heard that there's considerable concern about the weather forecast, with lots of afternoon thunderstorms predicted.
Unfortunately for me, this is the last update I personally will get on Dawn for several days, because I'm going on a long-preplanned vacation that would have been well timed between two launches if it weren't for all those delays. I've got a couple of blog posts in the bag for the next couple of days, and I am hoping you'll see more Dawn Journal updates from Marc Rayman in this space as well, but I may as well be on Mars for all the information I'm going to be able to get! I get back on the evening of Dawn's launch date, July 7. If Dawn gets the go-ahead and does launch on the 7th, Bruce Betts will be blogging the launch for you readers here, and I'll have to read along with you all after the fact! But if the launch happens after the 7th, I'll be back and paying very close attention.
Best of luck, Dawn!
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