A night launch of NASA’s newest spacecraft to the moon – the LADEE spacecraft – on the U.S. East Coast last night prompted many fine photos to be posted on EarthSky’s Facebook page. The launch took place at 11:27 p.m. EDT Friday, September 6, 2013 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The LADEE spacecraft will study the moon’s atmosphere and dust. It was launched into space by an unmanned Minotaur rocket.
NASA had announced prior to the launch it would be visible, weather permitting, as far south as South Carolina, as far north as Maine and as far west as Pittsburgh.
As of 11 UTC today (6 a.m. CDT September 7), NASA has confirmed that LADEE has separated from the Minotaur rocket, and is powered up and communicating with ground controllers. LADEE is on its way to arrive at the moon in 30 days, then enter lunar orbit. Get updates on LADEE’s progress here.
LADEE is pronounced LA dee, which stands for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. It’ll take a roundabout journey to the moon, making three huge laps around Earth before getting close enough to pop into lunar orbit. Read more about the LADEE mission here.
We received so many beautiful photos of the launch. They were still coming in midday on Saturday. Wish we could post them all! To view them, go to Recent Posts by Others on EarthSky Facebook.
Bottom line: The night launch on September 6, 2013 of NASA’s new LADEE spacecraft to the moon resulted in many fine photos posted to EarthSky’s Facebook page. Thanks to all who posted! Wish we could have posted them all. To view them, go to Recent Posts by Others on EarthSky Facebook.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.