Aug 11

Dawn's smooth orbital insertion at Vesta

Source: NASA Science News

Dawn's image of Vesta on July 24, 2011.
Image credits: NASA/Dawn.

When a NASA spacecraft goes into orbit around a new world for the first time, the control room is usually packed to capacity with scientists, engineers, and dignitaries ready to leap and shout when the retro-rockets fire. It's a big, noisy event.

July 15, 2011, was one of those days. NASA's Dawn spacecraft approached Vesta and became the first probe from Earth to orbit a main belt asteroid. Dawn's cameras revealed a desolate world of transcendent beauty, thrilling everyone who worked on the project.

Needless to say, the control room was .... silent?

This was because with Dawn all could be fuel controlled previously. (read more)

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