Lunar probe arrives at Wallops Island ahead of landmark mission

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-04 16:46:24-04

lunar probeWallops Island, Va. – The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) arrived today at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to begin final processing for its trip to the moon later this year.

LADEE is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. The mission will address long-standing unknowns about the moon, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well. LADEE has three science instruments and one technology demonstration onboard.

Tonight’s rocket launch from Wallops Island will be visible in Hampton Roads

LADEE’s scheduled Sep. 5th launch will mark several firsts. It will be the first deep space mission to launch from Wallops Island, and will be the first payload to launch on a U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket integrated by Orbital Sciences Corp.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Ames is responsible for managing the mission, building the spacecraft and performing mission operations.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., is responsible for managing the science instruments and technology demonstration payload, and the science operations center. Wallops is responsible for launch vehicle integration, launch services, and launch range operations. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.