NASA's Dawn Successfully Passes Critical Design Review

Status Report From: University of California Los Angeles
Posted: Sunday, September 5, 2004

image Christopher T. Russell
Dawn Principal Investigator, UCLA

PI-led Discovery missions, like all NASA missions, have a series of phases. After acceptance of the initial proposal, a concept study report is prepared, also referred to as a Phase A report. If this is selected for further development then the project is said to be in Phase B. These two phases are now commonly referred to as the formulation Phase. Dawn successfully completed the formulation phase in February of 2004 and entered phase C/D or the implementation phase. In phase C/D planning is complete and the ordering of parts and construction of the flight system can begin.

Because of increased oversight in the Discovery program, Dawn was required to pass additional reviews and tests before undergoing its Critical Design Review (CDR) in June of this year. The CDR is the last hurdle before the assembly of the flight system. Dawn met or exceeded all of the additional criteria NASA Headquarters had levied and had an extremely successful CDR. Dawn now has an unconditional go ahead to proceed to launch.

The next major step in the process after the flight system is assembled is to review preparedness for test, integration and launch operations. This is followed by flight readiness reviews to assure we are ready to operate the spacecraft. The schedule we are following is tight but we are monitoring it carefully and holding to our planned launch in mid June 2006.

I am very pleased with our progress to date, and am extremely appreciative of the tremendous efforts expended by the JPL, Orbital and the instrument teams in getting us to where we are today. By almost every measure the project is now past the halfway mark to launch and performing very well.

Dawn's Early Light is published on an occasional basis and distributed electronically. To contribute material or query the team, email us at

Editor: Carol A. Raymond
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

For more information about the Dawn mission, visit the Dawn website

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.