Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NASA Launches Robotic Explorer to the Moon from Virginia Site

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NASA Launches Robotic Explorer to the Moon from Virginia Site

Article excerpt

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. --

NASA's newest robotic explorer rocketed into space late Friday in an unprecedented moonshot from Virginia's Eastern Shore that dazzled sky watchers along the East Coast.

But the LADEE spacecraft quickly ran into equipment trouble, and while NASA assured everyone early Saturday that the lunar probe was safe and on a perfect track for the moon, officials acknowledged the problem needs to be resolved in the next two to three weeks.

The LADEE spacecraft is charged with studying the lunar atmosphere and dust.

The launch site was a change of venue for NASA, which normally launches moon missions from Cape Canaveral, Fla. But it provided a rare light show along the East Coast for those blessed with clear skies.

The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE, pronounced "LA'-dee," is taking a roundabout path to the moon, making three huge laps around Earth before getting close enough to pop into lunar orbit.

Unlike the quick three-day Apollo flights to the moon, LADEE will need a full month to reach Earth's closest neighbor. …

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