Monday, December 14, 2009

Delta II Set For 9:09 AM West Coast Launch

The countdown to the launch in California of a Delta II rocket and a NASA scientific observatory is winding down toward a scheduled 9:09 a.m. EST liftoff at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The 12-story United Launch Alliance rocket and its payload -- NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE -- are poised to blast off from Space Launch Complex 2 at the central California air base. A United Launch Alliance team from Cape Canaveral and NASA managers from Kennedy Space Center travelled to the West Coast to take part in the launch.

The weather looks good for launch, and managers have just completed their readiness poll. The launch window will extend through 9:23 a.m. You can watch live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right side of the page to launch our NASA TV viewer.

NASA's WISE spacecraft is equipped with a sophisticated infrared telescope that will perform a full-sky scan of the cosmos, looking for the faintest and brightest objects in the universe. Scientists expect to detect objects never seen or catalogued before.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the United Launch Alliance image of a Delta II rocket poised to launch NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. You can also click the enlarged image to get a bigger, more detailed view of the rocket. Photo Credit: Bill Hartenstein, United Launch Alliance.

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