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Dawn Journal

Dawn Journal: Spiraling Down from Survey Orbit

Marc Rayman • September 02, 2011

Dawn has completed the first phase of its exploration of Vesta with tremendous success, and the peripatetic adventurer is now in powered flight again, on its way to a new location from which to scrutinize its subject.

Dawn Journal: In Survey Orbit (belatedly)

Marc Rayman • August 29, 2011

Dawn is now beginning intensive observations of the alien world it orbits. The approach phase, which began on May 3 is complete. Today Dawn is in its survey orbit around Vesta.

Dawn Journal: Dawn has arrived!

Marc Rayman • July 26, 2011

After covering 2.8 billion kilometers (1.7 billion miles) on its own, after traveling for nearly four years through the lonely emptiness of interplanetary space, after being bound by the gravity only of the sun, Dawn is finally in orbit around Vesta.

Dawn Journal: Closing in on Vesta

Marc Rayman • June 27, 2011

Vesta beckons, and Dawn responds. Now more than halfway through its approach to Vesta, Dawn continues creeping up on the destination it has been pursuing since it began its interplanetary travels.

Dawn Journal: Vesta to choose Dawn's arrival time

Marc Rayman • May 30, 2011

Dawn remains healthy and on course as it continues to approach Vesta. Thrusting with its ion propulsion system, as it has for most of its interplanetary journey so far, the spacecraft is gradually matching its solar orbit to that of the protoplanet just ahead.

Dawn Journal: On the threshold of a new world

Marc Rayman • May 03, 2011

Dawn is on the threshold of a new world. After more than three and a half years of interplanetary travel covering in excess of 2.6 billion kilometers (1.6 billion miles), we are closing in on our first destination. Dawn is starting its approach to Vesta.

Dawn Journal: Calibrating instruments and thrusters on Vesta approach

Marc Rayman • April 07, 2011

Three and a half years after launch, Dawn continues its travels around the Sun, maneuvering to take the same orbital path as Vesta. The spacecraft has spent most of the past month gently thrusting with its ion propulsion system. Some of the thrusting this month, however, was not designed to propel Dawn to Vesta.

Dawn Journal: HAMO2; the destination glows bright

Marc Rayman • March 09, 2011

Deep in the asteroid belt, Dawn continues thrusting with its ion propulsion system. The spacecraft is making excellent progress in reshaping its orbit around the sun to match that of its destination, the unexplored world Vesta, with arrival now less than five months away.

Dawn Journal: ORT ORT ORT

Marc Rayman • February 03, 2011

Dawn continues its flight through the asteroid belt, steadily heading toward its July rendezvous with Vesta, where it will take up residence for a year. On January 10, Dawn performed some of the activities that it will execute in its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) at Vesta.

Dawn Journal: LAMO (Low Altitude Mapping Orbit)

Marc Rayman • January 05, 2011

Dawn finishes 2010 much as it began the year, thrusting with its ion propulsion system in steady pursuit of a distant world.

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