The NASA Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) arrived today at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to begin final processing for its trip to the moon later this year. LADEE is 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. A thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well. LADEE has three science instruments and one technology demonstration onboard.

LADEE’s scheduled Sep. 5, 2013, launch will mark several firsts. It will be the first payload to launch on a U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket integrated by Orbital Sciences Corp., and the first deep space mission to launch from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Ames is responsible for managing the mission, building the spacecraft and performing mission operations. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., is responsible for managing the science instruments and technology demonstration payload, and the science operations center. Wallops is responsible for launch vehicle integration, launch services, and launch range operations. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.

For more information about the LADEE Mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/LADEE

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NASA

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