NASA Reinstates the Dawn Mission

Mar 27, 2006

NASA senior management announced a decision Monday to reinstate the Dawn mission, a robotic exploration of two major asteroids. Dawn had been canceled because of technical problems and cost overruns. The mission, named because it was designed to study objects dating from the dawn of the solar system, would travel to Vesta and Ceres, two of the largest asteroids orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will use an electric ion propulsion system and orbit multiple objects.

The mission originally was approved in December 2001 and was set for launch in June 2006. Technical problems and other difficulties delayed the projected launch date to July 2007 and pushed the cost from its original estimate of $373 million to $446 million. The decision to cancel Dawn was made March 2, 2006, after about $257 million already had been spent. An additional expenditure of about $14 million would have been required to terminate the project.

The reinstatement resulted from a review process that is part of new management procedures established by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. The process is intended to help ensure open debate and thorough evaluation of major decisions regarding space exploration and agency operations.

"We revisited a number of technical and financial challenges and the work being done to address them," said NASA Associate Administrator Rex Geveden, who chaired the review panel. "Our review determined the project team has made substantive progress on many of this mission's technical issues, and, in the end, we have confidence the mission will succeed."

Source: NASA

Explore further: SpaceX breaks ground on Texas rocket launch site

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA's asteroid initiative benefits from rich history

Apr 12, 2013

NASA's FY2014 budget proposal includes a plan to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. ...

Venture to the last protoplanet

Jul 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Max Planck scientists have front row seats in the exploration of the asteroid with two onboard cameras. The aim is to travel back in time to the origins of the solar system.

Russia relishes chances created by end of shuttle

Jul 19, 2011

(AP) -- The mothballing of the space shuttle will be mourned by many astronauts, but Russia is relishing the prospect of serving as the only carrier to the International Space Station.

Astronauts load storage bin on last space shuttle

Jul 18, 2011

(AP) -- NASA's orbiting astronauts detached a huge storage bin full of trash from the International Space Station on Monday and loaded it aboard Atlantis for the last shuttle ride back to Earth.

Recommended for you

Gravitational waves according to Planck

5 hours ago

Scientists of the Planck collaboration, and in particular the Trieste team, have conducted a series of in-depth checks on the discovery recently publicized by the Antarctic Observatory, which announced last spring that it ...

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

5 hours ago

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help ...

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

12 hours ago

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves—invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe—might be "seen" by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that ...

User comments : 0