Live on the U.S. East Coast between Charleston and Cape Cod? You may be able to see the LADEE spacecraft launch for the Moon on Sept. 6!
This series of simulated views shows various viewpoints of the trajectory of the Minotaur V rocket that will carry LADEE into orbit. LADEE’s prime launch window is late at night. The daytime illustrations are simply a guide of where to look. Weather and haze also may affect launch visibility.
After launch, the Minotaur V will rise over the horizon heading east out over the Atlantic Ocean. It might seem that the rocket dips back to Earth as it moves farther away from the observer – just as a ship appears to sink as it moves out to sea – but actually the rocket is going higher, faster and farther from populated areas. Four of the Minotaur’s five rocket stages will drop off and break up far out over the ocean. The fifth stage, along with LADEE, will be inserted in high Earth orbit.
LADEE will use its own engines to continue on to the moon, where it will begin a 100 day mission to gather detailed information about the thin lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.