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Dawn is a space probe launched by NASA in September 2007 with the mission of studying two of the three known protoplanets of the asteroid belt , Vesta and Ceres. It is currently in orbit about its second target, the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies,  the first spacecraft to visit either Vesta or Ceres, and also the first to visit a dwarf planet, arriving at Ceres in March 2015, a few months before New Horizons flew by Pluto in July 2015.
Dawn entered Vesta orbit on July 16, 2011, and completed a 14-month survey mission before leaving for Ceres in late 2012.   Dawn entered Ceres orbit on March 6, 2015.   NASA considered, but decided against, a proposal to visit a third target. 
The Dawn mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory , with spacecraft components contributed by European partners from the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. It is the first NASA exploratory mission to use ion propulsion , which enabled it to enter and leave the orbit of multiple celestial bodies. Previous multi-target missions using conventional drives, such as the Voyager program , were restricted to flybys.