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Dawn (spacecraft) facts for kids

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Dawn spacecraft model.png
Illustration of the Dawn spacecraft
Mission type Multi-target orbiter
Operator NASA / JPL
Mission duration Planned: 9 years
Final: 11 years, 1 month, 5 days
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer Orbital Sciences · JPL · UCLA
Launch mass 1,217.7 kg (2,684.6 lb)
Dry mass 747.1 kg (1,647.1 lb)
Dimensions 1.64 × 19.7 × 1.77 m (5.4 × 65 × 5.8 ft)
Power 10,000 watts at 1 AU
1,300 watts at 3 AU
Start of mission
Launch date September 27, 2007, 11:34 (2007-09-27UTC11:34) UTC
Rocket Delta II 7925H
Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-17B
Contractor United Launch Alliance
End of mission
Disposal Uncontrolled/stable orbit
Last contact 30 October 2018
Flyby of Mars
Closest approach February 18, 2009, 00:27:58 UTC
Distance 542 km (337 mi)
4 Vesta orbiter
Orbital insertion July 16, 2011, 04:47 UTC
Orbital departure September 5, 2012, 06:26 UTC
1 Ceres orbiter
Orbital insertion March 6, 2015, 12:29 UTC
Dawn logo.png
Dawn mission patch
Discovery program
← Deep Impact
Kepler →

Dawn is an unmanned NASA space probe. It has orbited and studied the asteroid Vesta, and it is currently orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres. Both Vesta and Ceres are in the asteroid belt. Dawn is the first spacecraft to visit Ceres and the first to visit Vesta. It also is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies.

Dawn was launched on September 27, 2007 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a Delta 7925-H rocket. It then travelled to Mars for a gravity assist, making its closest approach to Mars in February 2009.

Vesta darkside
One of the photos Dawn took of Vesta

Next, Dawn set off for Vesta. It went into orbit in July, 2011. On September 5, 2012, Dawn left Vesta and headed for Ceres. It began to orbit Ceres on March 6, 2015.

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