NASA’s Dawn mission cancelled

DawnHaving been “on hold” since October 2005 pending an audit of technical and managerial issues related to the mission, NASA formally cancels the Dawn unmanned mission to the asteroid belt. The spacecraft had been intended to lift off in 2006, using an ion propulsion system to visit, orbit, and map not one, but two, of the largest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, in the following decade. The mission is cancelled when NASA auditors find unresolved technical issues and project a budget overrun of 20%. Planners and managers for the Dawn mission plan to appeal NASA’s decision.

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