NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is finally Out of Fuel as at 2nd November 2018. The flight team eventually concluded that the spacecraft had finally run out of hydrazine.
NASA has announced that the agency’s Dawn spacecraft has finally run out of fuel, after its launch 11 years ago.
Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, Dawn was a mission to the two largest bodies in the asteroid belt – Vesta and Ceres. These diverse worlds offer scientific snapshots of the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
Dawn missed scheduled communications sessions with NASA on 31 October and 1 November, with the flight team eventually concluding that the spacecraft had finally run out of hydrazine.
Without fuel, Dawn cannot control its orientation and is unable to train its antennae on Earth or turn its solar panels to the Sun to recharge.
Dawn’s mission was to visit the two largest objects in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres, and it now remains in orbit around the latter.
NASA said that the data collected by the spacecraft was invaluable for researchers examining the history of the solar system.
“The astounding images and data that Dawn collected from Vesta and Ceres are critical to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system,” said NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen.