Surviving some initial glitches, NASA confirmed on Saturday afternoon that the first-ever lunar mission launched from Wallops Island, Virginia was a success.
Shortly after take off Friday night, NASA reported that the spacecraft's reaction wheels unexpectedly shut down.
According to the NASA update on Saturday, "The reaction wheel issue noted soon after launched was resolved a few hours later. The LADEE spacecraft is healthy and communicating with mission operators.”
NASA describes the spacecraft known as LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) as a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.
The lunar spacecraft was successfully launched at 11:27 p.m. EDT on Friday, from Pad 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.
The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is on its way to arrive at the moon in 30 days, then enter lunar orbit.
Delmarva's Space Flight Center
If someone asked the average person about the Delmarva peninsula, a launching pad for outer space missions would not be one of the first things mentioned.
Located near Chincoteague Island, Virginia, some 140 miles south of Wilmington, Delaware, you will find the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The facility was established in 1945 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics as a center for aeronautic research.
The Wallops Educator Resource Center (ERC) provides a great learning center for groups and makes for a great field trip destination. Educators and group leaders have the opportunity to to access NASA instructional products at the center.
A visit to the Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center is a cool educational stop on a weekend family trip to the area. Days of operation vary during the year, so check out the Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center website when planning a visit.
What are you thinking about today?
Are regional Space Flight Centers like the Wallops Flight Facility good educational tools? Should there be more emphasis in America on science? Is NASA underfunded?