The Delta II rocket carrying the Kepler spacecraft lifted off tonight at 10:49 PM EST from Cape Canaveral. Everything has so far been going as planned.
At the time of this writing (10:52 PM CST) the solid fuel has been used up and the rocket will soon detach, leaving the observatory on its own to maneuver into its position in Earth-trailing orbit, 950 miles up. This is three times farther than the International Space Station.
The Kepler observatory spacecraft will be traveling at nearly 24,000 miles per hour, or 6.6 miles/second.
View the up-to-date mission blog here.
Image credit: NASA