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Old 06-16-2011, 07:56 PM   #31
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Here is the YoutubeLink
WOW!



Can't wait to see more ;-)
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:16 PM   #32
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NASA:
June 20, 2011
MEDIA ADVISORY : M11-126
NASA Hosts Briefing To Preview Spacecraft Visit Of Large Asteroid


WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a news briefing at 2 p.m. EDT [18:00 UTC] on Thursday, June 23, to discuss the Dawn spacecraft's year-long visit to the large asteroid Vesta. The mission expects to go into orbit around Vesta on July 16 and begin gathering science data in early August. The briefing will be held in the NASA Headquarters auditorium located at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. NASA Television and the agency's website will broadcast the event.

Dawn's visit to Vesta will be the first prolonged encounter to a main belt asteroid and the first trip to a protoplanet, or large body that almost became a planet. Observations will help understand the earliest chapter of our solar system's history.

The briefing panelists are:
  • W. James Adams, deputy director, Planetary Science Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Robert Mase, Dawn project manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.
  • Christopher Russell, Dawn principal investigator, UCLA
  • Carol Raymond, Dawn deputy principal investigator, JPL

{...}



NASA Dawn Mission News: NASA Hosts Preview of Visit to Large Asteroid:
Quote:
{...}

The event will be held at NASA Headquarters in Washington and will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. In addition, the event will be carried live on Ustream, with a live chat available, at http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2.

{...}
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:54 PM   #33
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Nears Start of Year-Long Stay at Giant Asteroid

June 23, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. – NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on track to begin the first extended visit to a large asteroid. The mission expects to go into orbit around Vesta on July 16 and begin gathering science data in early August. Vesta resides in the main asteroid belt and is thought to be the source of a large number of meteorites that fall to Earth.

"The spacecraft is right on target," said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We look forward to exploring this unknown world during Dawn's one-year stay in Vesta's orbit."

Click on images for details
Dawn Approaching Vesta
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image on its approach to the protoplanet Vesta, the second-most massive object in the main asteroid belt.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/PSI
Dawn's Approach to Vesta
This movie shows images obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on its approach to the protoplanet Vesta and a comparison of views from Dawn's framing camera and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/PSI and NASA/ESA/STScI/UMd
Dawn and Hubble Views of Vesta
These views of the protoplanet Vesta were obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/PSI and NASA/ESA/STScI/UMd


After traveling nearly four years and 1.7 billion miles (2.7 billion kilometers), Dawn is approximately 96,000 miles (155,000 kilometers) away from Vesta. When Vesta captures Dawn into its orbit on July 16, there will be approximately 9,900 miles (16,000 kilometers) between them. When orbit is achieved, they will be approximately 117 million miles (188 million kilometers) away from Earth.

After Dawn enters Vesta's orbit, engineers will need a few days to determine the exact time of capture. Unlike other missions where a dramatic, nail-biting propulsive burn results in orbit insertion around a planet, Dawn has been using its placid ion propulsion system to subtly shape its path for years to match Vesta's orbit around the sun.

Images from Dawn's framing camera, taken for navigation purposes, show the slow progress toward Vesta. They also show Vesta rotating about 65 degrees in the field of view. The images are about twice as sharp as the best images of Vesta from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, but the surface details Dawn will obtain are still a mystery.

Click on images for details
Animation of Dawn's Visit to Vesta
This movie presents a series of animations showing NASA's Dawn spacecraft journey to and operations at the giant asteroid Vesta.
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Vesta in Spectrometer View
On June 8, 2011, the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft captured the instrument's first images of Vesta that are larger than a few pixels, from a distance of about 218,000 miles(351,000 kilometers).
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/ASI/INAF
Possible Piece of Vesta
Scientists believe a large number of the meteorites that are found on Earth originate from the protoplanet Vesta.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


"Navigation images from Dawn's framing camera have given us intriguing hints of Vesta, but we're looking forward to the heart of Vesta operations, when we begin officially collecting science data," said Christopher Russell, Dawn principal investigator, at UCLA. "We can't wait for Dawn to peel back the layers of time and reveal the early history of our solar system."

Dawn's three instruments are all functioning and appear to be properly calibrated. The visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, for example, has started to obtain images of Vesta that are larger than a few pixels in size. During the initial reconnaissance orbit, at approximately 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers), the spacecraft will get a broad overview of Vesta with color pictures and data in different wavelengths of reflected light. The spacecraft will move into a high-altitude mapping orbit, about 420 miles (680 kilometers) above the surface to systematically map the parts of Vesta's surface illuminated by the sun; collect stereo images to see topographic highs and lows; acquire higher-resolution data to map rock types at the surface; and learn more about Vesta's thermal properties.

Dawn then will move even closer, to a low-altitude mapping orbit approximately 120 miles (200 kilometers) above the surface. The primary science goals of this orbit are to detect the byproducts of cosmic rays hitting the surface and help scientists determine the many kinds of atoms there, and probe the protoplanet's internal structure. As Dawn spirals away from Vesta, it will pause again at the high-altitude mapping orbit. Because the sun's angle on the surface will have progressed, scientists will be able to see previously hidden terrain while obtaining different views of surface features.

"We've packed our year at Vesta chock-full of science observations to help us unravel the mysteries of Vesta," said Carol Raymond, Dawn's deputy principal investigator at JPL. Vesta is considered a protoplanet, or body that never quite became a full-fledged planet.

{...}



NASA: Dawn News Conference Materials
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:57 PM   #34
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200 kilometers flyby... Those pics are going to be more than cool ! Can't wait !
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:27 PM   #35
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http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/da...oachVideo.html

Click the link above to watch the approach video composed of the Dawn's navigation camera pictures.
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:47 PM   #36
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That's a really neat video.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:45 PM   #37
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NASA / NASA JPL:
Dawn Team Members Check out Spacecraft

July 07, 2011

Dawn Mission Status Update

Mission managers for NASA's Dawn spacecraft are studying the spacecraft's ion propulsion system after Dawn experienced a loss of thrust on June 27. Dawn team members were able to trace the episode to an electronic circuit in the spacecraft's digital control and interface unit, a subsystem that houses the circuit and a computer that provides the "brains" to Dawn's ion propulsion system. That circuit appeared to lose an electronic signal. As a result, the valves controlling the flow of xenon fuel did not open properly. Dawn automatically put itself into a more basic configuration known as "safe-communications" mode, where the spacecraft stopped some activities and turned its high-gain antenna to Earth.

Engineers were able to return the spacecraft to a normal configuration and restart the spacecraft's thrusting on June 30 by switching to a second digital control and interface unit with equivalent capabilities. One set of images for navigation purposes was not obtained on June 28 because the spacecraft was in safe-communications mode, and one other set, on July 6, was not obtained to allow the spacecraft to spend the time thrusting. Other sets of navigation images have been and will be acquired as expected. The ion propulsion system is now functioning normally.

"Dawn is still on track to get into orbit around Vesta, and thanks to the flexibility provided by our use of ion propulsion, the time of orbit capture actually will move earlier by a little less than a day," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission manager. "More importantly, the rest of Dawn's schedule is unaffected, and science collection is expected to begin as scheduled in early August."

In an unrelated event, the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer on Dawn reset itself on June 29. At the time of the reset, the instrument was gathering calibration data during the spacecraft's approach to the giant asteroid Vesta. Some of its planned observations were completed successfully before automatic sensors turned the instrument off.

On June 30, Dawn team members were able to trace the reset to an internal error in the instrument's central processing unit, though they don't yet know why the internal error occurred. By temporarily turning the instrument back on, the Dawn team confirmed that the instrument is otherwise in a normal configuration. They powered the instrument back off, as originally planned for this time. Team members are working to determine when they will turn it back on again.

After arriving at Vesta, Dawn will spend about one year orbiting the asteroid, which is also known as a protoplanet because it is a large body that almost became a planet. Data collected at Vesta will help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system's history.

{...}
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:54 PM   #38
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NASA / NASA JPL:
NASA Spacecraft to Enter Asteroid's Orbit on July 15

July 14, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- On July 15, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will begin a prolonged encounter with the asteroid Vesta, making the mission the first to enter orbit around a main-belt asteroid.

The main asteroid belt lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will study Vesta for one year, and observations will help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system's history.

Click on image for details
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image of the giant asteroid Vesta with its framing camera on July 9, 2011.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA


As the spacecraft approaches Vesta, surface details are coming into focus, as seen in a recent image taken from a distance of about 26,000 miles (41,000 kilometers). The image is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/da...ge-070911.html .

Engineers expect the spacecraft to be captured into orbit at approximately 10 p.m. PDT Friday, July 15 (1 a.m. EDT Saturday, July 16). They expect to hear from the spacecraft and confirm that it performed as planned during a scheduled communications pass that starts at approximately 11:30 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 16 (2:30 a.m. EDT Sunday, July 17). When Vesta captures Dawn into its orbit, engineers estimate there will be approximately 9,900 miles (16,000 kilometers) between them. At that point, the spacecraft and asteroid will be approximately 117 million miles (188 million kilometers) from Earth.

"It has taken nearly four years to get to this point," said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Our latest tests and check-outs show that Dawn is right on target and performing normally."

Engineers have been subtly shaping Dawn's trajectory for years to match Vesta's orbit around the sun. Unlike other missions, where dramatic propulsive burns put spacecraft into orbit around a planet, Dawn will ease up next to Vesta. Then the asteroid's gravity will capture the spacecraft into orbit. However, until Dawn nears Vesta and makes accurate measurements, the asteroid's mass and gravity will only be estimates. So the Dawn team will need a few days to refine the exact moment of orbit capture.

{...}




NASA Press Release: RELEASE : 11-228 - NASA Spacecraft To Enter Large Asteroid's Orbit On July 15




Here's O-F calendar event for Dawn's arrival at Vesta.



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Old 07-14-2011, 06:41 PM   #39
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Hi,
here's a scenario for Dawn, starting midnight tonight (00:00:00 15 July 2011)
You'll need the
Dawn add-on
and I recommend Nighthawk's
Asteroid Pack
for 4 Vesta. State vectors are from JPL Horizons.

Code:
BEGIN_DESC
END_DESC

BEGIN_ENVIRONMENT
  System Sol
  Date MJD  55757
END_ENVIRONMENT

BEGIN_FOCUS
  Ship Dawn
END_FOCUS

BEGIN_CAMERA
  TARGET Dawn
  MODE Extern
  POS 18.28 -109.61 35.16
  TRACKMODE GlobalFrame
  FOV 40.00
END_CAMERA

BEGIN_HUD
  TYPE Orbit
  REF AUTO
END_HUD

BEGIN_MFD Left
  TYPE Orbit
  PROJ Ship
  FRAME Ecliptic
  ALT
  REF Earth
END_MFD

BEGIN_MFD Right
  TYPE Surface
  SPDMODE 1
END_MFD


BEGIN_SHIPS
Dawn:Vessels/Dawn/Dawn
  STATUS Orbiting Sun
  RPOS  195500370248.345 -15691285846.7708 -268565142967.651
  RVEL  17228.3319139155 -2411.62235476597  10929.6606044936
  AROT -27.44 -20.03 20.60
  PRPLEVEL 0:0.460000 1:0.999017
  NAVFREQ 0 0
  ENG 1 0.0900
  AUTOATT 0
  AUTOREF 
  SPR 0 0.0763
  COVER 0 0.0000
  SOLP 1 1.0000
  XENON 195.500000
END
END_SHIPS

BEGIN_ExtMFD
END
And the current orbital elements for 4 Vesta.cfg from Horizons...
Code:
Epoch =  2011.53319644079
SemiMajorAxis =  353232206516.922
Eccentricity =  8.83287630292315E-02
Inclination =  .124522621659273
LongAscNode =  1.81347260625555
LongPerihelion =  4.4292252964182
MeanLongitude =  5.20990765054845
Cheers,
Brian
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:53 PM   #40
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14160135

BBC Article

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Old 07-14-2011, 08:56 PM   #41
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Can't wait for close-up pics of that rock !
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:30 AM   #42
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Been all over the Nasa and JPL pages for Dawn, and nothing about the orbital capture. they should have had data back by now. Anyone got any current links?

N.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:45 AM   #43
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Dawn go,s a year in orbit around vesta, hope that it not be hit by asteroids

Good luck dawn
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:20 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notebook View Post
 Been all over the Nasa and JPL pages for Dawn, and nothing about the orbital capture. they should have had data back by now. Anyone got any current links?

N.
Next communications pass with Dawn is ~6:30am GMT Sunday, so I don't expect any info before then.

Using the Horizons vectors scenario above, I can't get orbit capture, using just the ion engine, before ~23:00 UTC tonight (16th July), at around 15,200km alt - I wonder if Dawn will use it's RCS to aid orbit capture?
Or maybe Horizons vectors are out-of-date?

Looking forward very much to getting a good look at the surface of Vesta soon!

Cheers,
Brian
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:36 AM   #45
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thanks BrianJ, looking forward, hope JPL have a live feed.

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