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Spacecraft

Structure

With its wide solar arrays extended, Dawn is about as long as a tractor-trailer at 65 feet (19.7 meters).

The ion thruster is powered by large solar panels. The power ionizes the fuel (Xenon) and then accelerates it with an electric field between two grids. Electrons are injected into the beam after acceleration to maintain a neutral plasma.

schematic of spacecraft

- Dawn Spacecraft Photo Gallery