[meteorite-list] GRAIL Launch Less Than One Month Away

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 16:40:13 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201108112340.p7BNeDp1024954_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


GRAIL Launch Less Than One Month Away
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
August 11, 2011

NASA's twin lunar probes - GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B - completed their final
inspections and were weighed one final time at the Astrotech Space
Operations facility in Titusville, Fla., on Tuesday. The two Gravity
Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft will orbit the moon
in formation to determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust
to core and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the
moon. GRAIL's launch period opens Sept. 8, 2011, and extends through
Oct. 19. For a Sept. 8 liftoff, the launch window opens at 5:37 a.m. PDT
(8:37 a.m. EDT) and remains open through 6:16 a.m. PDT (9:16 a.m. EDT).

Later this week, the two spacecraft will be loaded side-by-side on a
special adapter and packaged inside a payload fairing that will protect
them during their launch into space. Next week, GRAIL is expected to
make the trip from Astrotech to Launch Complex 17 at the Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station where it will be mated with its United Launch Alliance
Delta II Heavy rocket.

GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B will fly in tandem orbits around the moon for
several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The
mission will answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon, and
provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky
planets in the solar system formed.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL
mission. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, is home
to the mission's principal investigator, Maria Zuber. The GRAIL mission
is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built
the spacecraft. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility
of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in
Florida. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in

More information about GRAIL is online at: http://grail.nasa.gov .

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Thu 11 Aug 2011 07:40:13 PM PDT

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