Winds Delay Launch For GRAIL

Article written: 8 Sep , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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High upper level winds put a damper on hopes for launching the GRAIL mission on its first attempts on Thursday, September 8. While the weather looked perfect on the ground at Kennedy Space Center, weather balloons showed high winds in the region of the atmosphere where the Delta 2 launcher would normally experience the most turbulence.

NASA will try again on Friday, September 9 with two one-second launch windows available at 8:33 and 9:12 EDT (12:33 or 13:12 UT). There were two one-second launch windows for Thursday, and both were “red” because of the winds aloft.

The dynamic duo twin-spacecraft Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission is designed to map the Moon’s gravity with extreme precision.

For more information on the mission, read our preview article by Ken Kremer.

GRAIL on the launchpad. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.

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4 Responses

  1. Slugsie says

    One second launch window? Holy tiny timeslice Batman!

  2. Ron Desroches says

    Another GIGANTIC waste of money by NASA ! ! ! !

    • Torbjörn Larsson says

      Another GIGANTIC waste of comment by TROLLING ! ! ! !

      [Following the articles and googling the rest, it is easy to see that GRAIL is set to research the formation history of the Earth-Moon system, which is important to understand the general formation of terrestrial exoplanets but also the specific conditions for abiogenesis on Earth.

      Current data compresses the formation of Earth crust and abiogenesis into slots of at most a few hundred million years and, more likely IMO, a few tens of million years. The later is doable but means tightly constraining processes (which is good for science!

      All hail GRAIL! I am really looking forward to see these vital results in a few years.]

    • Anonymous says

      I’m always amazed at how many people fail to understand just how much good NASA spending does for the US economy, tech-base, and scientific knowledge in general. I’d rather cut welfare than science and NASA spending.

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