Spacecraft: Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)
Launch Vehicle: U.S. Air Force-provided Minotaur V
Launch Site: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. -- Pad 0B
Launch Date: Sept. 6, 2013
Launch Time: 11:27 p.m. EDT
The Minotaur V rocket with LADEE aboard launches.
Credit: NASA Wallops/Chris Perry
LADEE's launch in 2013 marked several firsts. It 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 Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The Minotaur V is a five-stage version of the Minotaur IV. It is designed to provide launches for small missions requiring geosynchronous transfer or translunar orbits.
Wallops, located on Virginia's eastern shore, was established in 1945 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The oldest continuous rocket launch range in the United States, Wallops is a national resource for aerospace-based science and technology research using suborbital and orbital vehicles.
NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley designed, developed, built and tested the spacecraft and will manage the 100-day science mission. After launch, Ames will control the spacecraft and execute mission operations.