NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captures first images of Ceres

December 7, 2014 8:57 PM

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captures first images of Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft launched atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA ) Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex 17-B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 27, 2007, kicking off the start of a seven year trek across the solar system. Its mission: explore the asteroid belt and help unlock the secrets of the early solar system. Researchers had two targets picked out for the probe, and asteroid named Vesta and a dwarf planet named Ceres. It has just recently – captured its first image of its second target – Ceres.

The Delta II was equipped with three stages and nine solid rocket boosters (SRBs) to loft the vehicle into space. ULA’s Delta II launcher comes in multiple configurations and the Delta-II Heavy, the most powerful version, propelled the Dawn spacecraft on its four year journey to the asteroid belt. A...

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