NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) aboard a Minotaur V rocket successfully launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Friday night.
The rocket will take approximately 30 days to reach the moon.
According to NASA, the LADEE was the first payload to launch on a U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket integrated by Orbital Sciences Corp., and the first deep space mission to launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
The LADEE is a car-sized explorer that will orbit the moon for about 100 days to gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere and determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky.
NewsChannel 3 spoke with Dr. Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science at NASA Headquarters, about the LADEE mission.
He says the explorer will use a new communications system transmit data back to Earth using a laser light positioned on the moon.