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And away she goes! NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft launched successfully – and beautifully! – at 9:08 am EDT this morning from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta II Heavy rocket. This was the third day for launch attempts after several scrubs due to high-altitude winds on both Thursday and Friday. In this case the third time certainly WAS a charm!
GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth’s moon and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.
Shortly after launch the spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket stages. It will take the two spacecraft until New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to reach the moon. Go GRAIL!
Visit the mission news page here.