Kepler Joins 3rd Stage
March 4, 2009
At the Hazardous Processing Facility at Astrotech in Titusville, Fla., workers guide the suspended Kepler spacecraft onto a Delta II third stage. Kepler is designed to survey more than 100,000 stars in our galaxy to determine the number of sun-like stars that have Earth-size and larger planets, including those that lie in a star's "habitable zone," a region where liquid water, and perhaps life, could exist. If these Earth-size worlds do exist around stars like our sun, Kepler is expected to be the first to find them and the first to measure how common they are. The liftoff of Kepler aboard a Delta II rocket is currently targeted for 10:48 p.m. EST March 5 from Space Launch Complex 17 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Topics: Johannes Kepler, Astronomy, Spacecraft, Delta II, Discovery program, Kepler Mission, Exoplanetology, Spaceflight, Planet