Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 17-B
Launch Date: September 27, 2007
Launch Time: 7:34 a.m. EDT
Dawn Roars off the Pad
Image above: Dawn takes flight on its journey to the asteroid belt. Photo credit: NASA
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A Delta II-Heavy propelled the Dawn spacecraft into space on its 4-year flight to the asteroid belt. The Delta II was designed to boost medium-sized satellites and robotic explorers into space.
The Delta II-Heavy used for Dawn is the strongest rocket in the Delta II class. It took three stages and nine solid-fueled booster rockets to propel Dawn on its way. A 9.5-foot payload fairing protected the spacecraft from the heat and stresses of launch. It fell away from the spacecraft after the rocket reached the upper levels of the atmosphere.