Rising above a cloud-filled horizon, the Delta II rocket carrying the Dawn spacecraft roars into the sky.
Liftoff was at 7:34 a.m. EDT from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
[URL=http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dawn/main/]Dawn[/URL] is the ninth mission in NASA's Discovery Program. The spacecraft will be the first to orbit two planetary bodies, asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, during a single mission. Vesta and Ceres lie in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
The mission is also NASA's first purely scientific mission powered by three solar electric ion propulsion engines.