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In-flight operation of the Dawn ion propulsion system through the preparations for escape from Vesta

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dc.contributor.author Garner, Charles E.
dc.contributor.author Rayman, Marc D.
dc.contributor.author Brophy, John R.
dc.contributor.author Mikes, Steven C.
dc.date.accessioned 2015-03-11T23:22:15Z
dc.date.available 2015-03-11T23:22:15Z
dc.date.issued 2012-07-29
dc.identifier.citation AIAA 48th Joint Propulsion Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, July 29-August 1, 2012 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 12-2932
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2014/44986
dc.description.abstract The Dawn mission, part of NASA’s Discovery Program, has as its goal the scientific exploration of the two most massive main-belt asteroids, 4 Vesta, and the dwarf planet 1 Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on September 27, 2007 on a Delta-II 7925H-9.5 rocket that placed the 1218-kg spacecraft into an Earth-escape trajectory. On-board the spacecraft is an ion propulsion system (IPS) developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which will provide a total delta-V of approximately 11 km/s for the heliocentric transfer to Vesta, orbit capture at Vesta, transfer between Vesta science orbits, departure and escape from Vesta, heliocentric transfer to Ceres, orbit capture at Ceres, transfer between Ceres science orbits, and orbit maintenance maneuvers for all Vesta and Ceres science orbits. Full-power thrusting from December 2007 through October 2008 was used to successfully target a Mars gravity assist flyby in February 2009 that provided an additional delta-V of 2.6 km/s. Deterministic thrusting for the heliocentric transfer to Vesta resumed in June 2009 and concluded with orbit capture at Vesta on July 16, 2011. An additional 231 hours of IPS thrusting was used to enter the first Vesta science orbit, called Survey orbit, on August 3, 2011 at an altitude of about 2,735 km. The IPS was then used over the next year to transfer the spacecraft to the other science orbits: a high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO-1) in September 2011 at an altitude of approximately 673 km, a low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) at approximately 210 km altitude, and a second high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO-2) at approximately 673 km altitude. To date the IPS has been operated for approximately 24,327 hours, consumed approximately 260 kg of xenon, and provided a delta-V of approximately 7 km/s. IPS performance characteristics are very close to the expected performance based on analysis and testing performed pre-launch. Thrusting for escape from Vesta and cruise to Ceres is planned to start in late July 2012 with a planned arrival date at Ceres in February 2015. This paper provides an overview of Dawn’s mission objectives and the results of Dawn IPS mission operations through preparations for departure from Vesta. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2012 en_US
dc.title In-flight operation of the Dawn ion propulsion system through the preparations for escape from Vesta en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US


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