Saturday, September 10, 2011

Delta II Gantry Rolls For Saturday Launch

LIVE IMAGES: Refresh this page to see the latest still image from a video feed (left) at the Delta II launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and (right) the Air Force 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron weather channel.

A massive, derrick-like gantry is being rolled away from a United Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy rocket, clearing the way for the planned launch early this morning of twin NASA spacecraft that will map the gravitational field of the moon.

The 12-story rocket and its payload -- two NASA lunar explorers -- are scheduled to blast off from Launch Complex 17B at 8:29 a.m. A second chance would come at 9:08 a.m., if need be.

The forecast for launch calls for a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather conditions. But meteorologists will be keping a close eye on the chance of thick, electrically charged clouds or rain coming into the area around launch time.

The Mobile Service Tower rollback kept the NASA-United Launch Alliance team on track for launch at 8:29 a.m.

Our interactive Cover-It-Live blog will come up at 5:45 a.m., and you also can watch live NASA TV coverage simultaneously here in The Flame Trench beginning about the same time.

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