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NASA’s newest mission to the Moon, LADEE, launched from Wallops Island in Virginia, lighting up the sky along the US East Coast, allowing millions to see the Minotaur V rocket’s brilliance with their own eyes. Some of our readers captured the views as they cheered on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer as it sailed safely to orbit.
See more images and video below, but first a quick update on how LADEE is doing: there was concern shortly after launch as during technical checkouts the LADEE spacecraft commanded itself to shut down the reaction wheels used to position and stabilize the spacecraft. According to the LADEE mission operations team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., this was determined to be the result of fault protection limits put in place prior to launch to safeguard the reaction wheels. The limits that caused the powering off of the wheels soon after activation were disabled, and the reaction wheels were successfully brought back online.
“Our engineers will determine the appropriate means of managing the reaction wheel fault protection program. Answers will be developed over time and will not hold up checkout activities,” said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager.
Everything else is checking out fine so far, so enjoy these views:
This video was taken by Richard Drumm, part of the NASA Social LADEE launch event, so he and the group were about 2 miles from the launchpad:
This timelapse of the launch is from Chris Moran:
Closeup view of launch via markyj on Instagram:
LADEE launch video , as seen from Bristol, Pennsylvania, courtesy of Ron Roberts:
If you missed the launch, here’s the “official” NASA video:
You can see more great images in NASA’s Flickr pool for the LADEE launch here.
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