NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft is now in the nose-cone at the top of the full Minotaur V launch vehicle stack at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, awaiting a launch at 11:27 p.m. EDT on Sept. 6, 2013.
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. A thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well.
LADEE is the first spacecraft designed, developed, built, integrated and tested at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
The probe will launch on a U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket, an excess ballistic missile converted into a space launch vehicle and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.