NASA LADEE Rocket Launch

NASA LADEE Rocket Launch to the Moon

The weather tomorrow night in Hoboken looks to be nice and clear – so get outside around 11:27pm to watch a spectacular NASA LADEE rocket launch out of Virginia.

Best viewing in Hoboken would probably be Stevens, but any pier would do (or a high west-facing balcony in a tall apartment building).

NASA LADEE Rocket Launch to Moon visible from Hoboken NJ

First Virginia coast moon launch

If you happen to live along or near the Mid-Atlantic seaboard and if your sky is clear late Friday night (Sept. 6), you will have a good chance to catch a glimpse of a rocket that will be sending a NASA space probe to the moon.

NASA LADEE Rocket Launch PROBEThe spacecraft is NASA’s small, car-sized Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere, as well as moon dust conditions near the surface.

The LADEE spacecraft is slated to blast off at 11:27 p.m. EDT (0327 Sept. 7 GMT), when it will light up the night over its launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. But should also be visible along large portions of the East Coast.

LADEE will be launched on a U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) a commercial space launch facility located at the southern tip of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Delmarva Peninsula, south of Chincoteague, Va. It will be the first payload ever to be launched on a Minotaur V (integrated by Orbital Sciences Corporation), as well as the first deep-space mission ever to be launched from Wallops Island.

The Minotaur V rocket is an eight-story, five-stage rocket which will launch the LADEE spacecraft into a highly elliptical orbit where it can phase and time its trajectory burn to the moon. LADEE will spend about 2.5 months to reach the moon, and then will spend 100 days orbiting our natural satellite and conducting science experiments at an altitude of about 30 miles (50 km). After its science mission is complete the orbiter will impact the lunar surface.

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(h/t to Yankees Fan for the story)

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