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Dawn Launch Pierces Morning Sky
09.28.07
The Delta II rocket carring Dawn ignites at launch. Ignition.
A Delta II rocket lights its main engine and nine solid-fueled boosters to begin the Dawn mission to the asteroid belt. The launch took place Sept. 27, 2007, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph and Rafael Hernandez
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The mobile servicing tower retracts before launch of the Dawn mission. Space calls.
The mobile service tower moves away from the Delta II rocket carrying the Dawn spacecraft. The tower protects the rocket and its payload while allowing technicians to assemble and prepare it for launch. Moving on a set of rails, the tower is rolled far enough from the rocket that the blast and exhaust don't damage the structure. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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The Delta II rocket and Dawn spacecraft stand pointed toward space. Standing ready.
The Dawn spacecraft required the strongest Delta II rocket to catapult it toward the asteroid belt. The Delta II-Heavy features three stages and nine solid-fueled boosters that are the largest used on the venerable line of launchers. Each of the nine boosters has a four-foot-wide nozzle. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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The sun rises over Florida's east coast on the morning of the Dawn launch. Sunshine state.
The countdown to the Dawn mission winds toward launch as the sun rises over the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A few clouds hung near Launch Pad 17-B but never interfered with the launch. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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Exhaust smoke envelops the Delta II rocket just before it leaps off its launch pad. About to leap.
With its main engines and nine booster rockets lit and firing, the Delta II rocket carrying the Dawn spacecraft begins its trip to space with thunder and a burst of exhaust. Photo Credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph & Rafael Hernandez
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The main engine and boosters begin to lift the Delta II rocket skyward. Mission begins.
Exhaust smokes billows from beneath Launch Pad 17-B as a Delta II rocket lifts off carrying the Dawn spacecraft. The Dawn misson is targeting an asteroid named Vesta and a dwarf planet named Ceres for up-close studies. Dawn will fly by Mars on its way to Vesta in the asterod belt, and then ignite its ion engines again to go to Ceres. Photo Credit: NASA/Tony Gray & Robert Murray
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The Delta II rocket carrying Dawn begins to lift off from its launch pad. Smoke and fire.
Hoses prepare to fall away from the Delta II rocket as it pushes from its launch pad. The Dawn spacecraft is tucked inside the white nose cone at the top of the rocket. Photo Credit: NASA/Tony Gray & Robert Murray
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A plume of smoke and fire follows in the wake of the Delta II rocket that lofted Dawn into space. Path through the sky.
The Delta II rocket carrying the Dawn spacecraft arcs through the morning sky toward space. The Delta II made a quick climb into orbit, and then pushed the spacecraft away from Earth and on its way to the asteroid belt. Photo Credit: NASA/George Shelton
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Steven Siceloff
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center