LADEE spacecraft scheduled to blast off for the moon

Sep 5, 2013

A rocket with its sights set for the moon is scheduled to launch Friday from the East Coast.

The LADEE spacecraft is scheduled to leave for the moon Friday, Sept. 6.
The LADEE spacecraft is scheduled to leave for the moon Friday, Sept. 6.
Credit National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The LADEE spacecraft, short for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, will blasts off Friday, September 6 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

“For those that happen to be on the East Coast, this is going to happen from Wallops Island in Virginia and it is going to head up the north East Coast. Because it is after dark, people are going to have quite a show in the sky,” said Patrick Wiggins, NASA Solar System Ambassador for Utah.

As LADEE approaches the moon, it will fire its onboard propellant and be captured into lunar orbit.

The solar-powered craft will orbit the moon for a hundred days, collecting data about the moon’s exosphere during the “science phase” of its journey. “It is going up to orbit the moon and to study the exosphere, which is basically a fancy way of saying a very thin atmosphere,” Wiggins said.

By learning about the atmosphere of our moon and other celestial bodies, scientists hope to better understand Earth's atmosphere and how to better maintain it.

The launch is scheduled to take off at 11:27 p.m. EST. To watch the launch online, visit space.com.

Taylor Halversen is a senior at Utah State University, majoring in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts. She's from Sandy, Utah and is interested in discovering new and random things to try and attempting to live life wholly and healthily. She loves music and climbing anything from trees to mountains.