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LADEE on Launch Day
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LADEE on Launch Day

September 11, 2013
The doors of the gantry support structure are opened to reveal the Minotaur V rocket on Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, in Wallops Island, Va. This rocket will launch NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), with a scheduled liftoff time of 11:27 p.m. EDT on Sept. 6. LADEE, managed by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., 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. A thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well. Image credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi