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NASA's twin craft arrive in Florida for Moon mission


On May 20, 2011, Lockheed Martin shipped NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft from Buckley Air Force Base to Kennedy Space Center, Florida. on an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport plane. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

DENVER (BNS): NASA’s twin GRAIL spacecraft were delivered by its builder Lockheed Martin to Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on May 20.

Both of the 440-pound (200 kilograms) spacecraft were transported on an Air Force C-17 transport plane in an environmentally controlled container.

The two vehicles will undergo four months of final testing and processing in preparation for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a United Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy launch vehicle in early September.

The mission's Delta II rocket is fully stacked on Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Liftoff is expected Sept. 8 at 8:37 a.m. EDT (1237 GMT).

The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission will orbit the moon to determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust to core and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The mission will also 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, according to JPL, which manages the Grail mission.

Tags:

NASA  JPL  Lockheed Martin  GRAIL  

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