Dawn In Orbit – High Resolution Images of Vesta

Vesta – The First Image from the Orbiting Dawn Spacecraft
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/ESA

The Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around Vest at 7:00 PM Phoenix time last Friday. This navigation image is the first close up of Vesta from orbit. The image was taken from 16,000 kilometers.

Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the solar system, dwarfs the nine other asteroids in this image. Lutetia, with a diameter of 130 kilometers, had been the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft. Vesta is 530 kilometers in diameter.

Vesta – First Close Uo Image from the Orbiting Dawn Spacecraft
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/ESA


NASA to Investigate the Launch of Astronauts on the Atlas V

NASA and United Launch Alliance have agreed to share technical information concerning the use of the Atlas V to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

Under the unfunded Space Act Agreement, ULA will provide data on the Atlas V.

NASA will share its human spaceflight experience with ULA and requirements for certification. In turn, ULA will provide NASA feedback about those requirements, including providing input on the technical feasibility and cost effectiveness of NASA’s proposed certification approach.

Specifically, ULA will provide:

  • continue to advance the Atlas V CTS concept, including design maturation and analyses
  • conduct ULA program reviews as planned
  • perform a Design Equivalency Review
  • develop Hazard Analyses unique for human spaceflight
  • develop a Probabilistic Risk Assessment
  • document an Atlas V CTS certification baseline
  • conduct Systems Requirements Review

In 2010, NASA awarded $6.7 million to ULA to accompany its own $1.3 million investment to develop an Emergency Detection System (EDS) prototype test bed.