MOON LAUNCH FROM VIRGINIA THIS WEEK, EAST COASTERS DON’T MISS IT!
Photo By: Orbital Sciences: Check links below for live streaming coverage as well as links to where it can be seen by eye along the east coast and as always, mission data.
On Friday, September 6, 2013 at 23:27 EDT (0327 UTC on the 7th) a U.S. Air Force Minotaur 5 rocket provided by Orbital Sciences will launch the Lunar Atmosphere Dust Experiment (LADEE) for NASA from Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA from Pad-B as part of NASA’s Lunar Quest Program. This will also be the maiden flight of the Minotaur 5 rocket and first 5 stage rocket ever flown by Orbital…..May as well head straight for the Moon.
Ok so were not talking the Saturn V, manned or even a lander mission in any way but this is still pretty cool. Not only is it cool, it’s also a milestone as it will be the 1st launch to the moon from Wallops VA, 1st Minotaur 5 launch and 1st 5 stage rocket flown by orbital Sciences. Its mission is to determine the density and composition of the Moons atmosphere and investigate any processes that control its variances. It will also characterize the lunar exospheric dust environment and variability and impacts on the lunar surface as well as determine the size, charge and spatial distribution of electrostatically transported dust grains and assess their likely effects on lunar exploration and lunar based astronomy.
Upon mission completion the spacecraft will be allowed to slowly run low on fuel, lose altitude and impact the lunar surface.
GO MINOTAUR!!! GO LADEE!!!
The MINOTAUR 5 LAUNCH VEHICLE = is a U.S. Air Force 5-stage expendable rocket provided by Orbital Sciences. It stands 80.59 ft. (24.56 meters) tall and 7.67 ft. (2.34 meters) in diameter.
MAIN PAYLOAD FAIRING = 20.67 ft. (6.3 meters) in length and 7.67 ft. (2.34 meters) in diameter and will be jettisoned shortly after stage-3 ignition 163 seconds into flight and at an altitude of approximately 77 miles (124 km.).
FIRST THREE STAGES = The first 3 stages of the Minotaur V rocket use former Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) solid rocket motors that will burn for a total of 208 seconds.
FOURTH STAGE = the 4th stage of the Minotaur V rocket utilizes a single Star 48BV solid fueled engine that will burn for 84.8 seconds. This will be the final stage in the boost phase to attain low Earth orbit (LEO).
FIFTH STAGE = The 5th stage of the Minotaur V rocket is powered by a single Star 37FM solid fueled engine and will burn for 63.5 seconds. Payload separation will occur after stage-5 burnout.
LADEE MAIN ENGINE = the spacecraft’s main engine is a single 455N High Performance Apogee Thruster (HiPAT).
Watch live at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. Coverage is slated to begin at 2130 EDT.
NASA LADEE mission page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ladee/main/index.html#.UiWYfJvD9ol
Orbital Sciences LADEE mission page & VIEWING MAPS: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/MinotaurV/index.shtml
NASA LADEE Press Kit (25 pages): http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/LADEE-Press-Kit-08292013.pdf
Orbital Sciences Minotaur 5 Fact Sheet: http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Minotaur_V_Fact.pdf
Follow LADEE on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASALADEE
Orbital Sciences on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OrbitalSciences
NASA Lunar Quest Program: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/lunarquest/main/index.html