April 30, 2013
Dawn Closer to the Sun than Vesta as it Travels to Ceres
The spacecraft has accomplished another month of thrusting with its ion propulsion system, and it is making good progress to Ceres. In order to catch up with the dwarf planet, which is even farther from the sun than Vesta, Dawn temporarily has to go in closer to the sun than Vesta. The most recent Dawn Journal explains why.
March 29, 2013
Mission Controllers Keep Dawn Flying to Ceres
With another month of ion thrusting complete, Dawn remains healthy. As it spends most of its time in powered flight, mission controllers spend most of theirs ensuring operations continue smoothly and preparing for Ceres. To learn more, see the latest Dawn Journal.
February 28, 2013
Persistent Ion Thrusting Provides Tremendous Change in Velocity
Dawn has devoted another month to thrusting with its ion propulsion system as it heads for Ceres. The spacecraft has now changed its speed by more than 7.7 kilometers per second (17,000 mph) since it was launched, far more than any other spacecraft. That's about the same that it takes for a rocket to go into Earth orbit, but that is not what Dawn's thrusting has accomplished, and it is not the spacecraft's speed. For an explanation of this extraordinary velocity change, see the latest Dawn Journal.
January 31, 2013
Dawn Continues Ion Thrusting to Ceres
Dawn has devoted the entire month of January to thrusting with its ion propulsion system to reach dwarf planet Ceres in 2015. Dawn has traveled far enough from Vesta that the protoplanet would appear to the spacecraft only as a bright pinpoint of light.
January 3, 2013
Dawn Completes a Spectacular Year and Continues toward Ceres
Dawn ended its extraordinarily successful 2012 by smoothly continuing to thrust with its ion propulsion system to its 2015 rendezvous with dwarf planet Ceres. In December, as Earth and Dawn followed their independent orbits, they were at their closest distance in more than a year. As the spacecraft continues its interplanetary adventure, you can locate its position in the sky using the moon as a guide on Jan. 21. For more details, see the most recent Dawn Journal.