Thursday, September 08, 2011

Moon Mission Set For 2nd Launch Attempt

NASA and United Launch Alliance will make a second attempt Friday to send up a Delta II Heavy rocket and twin spacecraft that will map the gravitational field of the moon.

The 12-story rocket and the spacecraft are slated to blast off from Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:33 a.m. Friday. A second chance would come at 9:12 a.m. if need be.

The derrick-like launch gantry protecting the rocket is scheduled to be rolled back away from the vehicle sometime between 10:30 p.m. and midnight.

Forecasters say there is a 60 percent chance thick, electrically charged clouds will sweep into the area and prevent a launch. A rocket flying through charged clouds could trigger destructive bolts of lightning.

Check out the Official Forecast from the Air Force 45th Weather Squadron.

An initial attempt Thursday was scrubbed due to high upper-altitude winds that could have knocked the rocket and spacecraft off course.

NASA and United Launch Alliance have until Oct. 19 to put the spacecraft on course for its $496 million mission. The next window of opportunity would come next spring.

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