LADEE as seen Friday night from the east coast
LADEE – pronounced like Laddie – is NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. It is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon gathering information about the atmosphere and lunar dust. LADEE was launched late last Friday night from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Virginia. Saturday, NASA officials reported that the spacecraft’s reaction wheels which spin to position LADEE in space were suddenly not working. Engineers have now disabled the safety limits that caused the problem enabling LADEE to continue on course.
LADEE will orbit Earth several times before heading to the moon, arriving in about 30 days. It will then orbit the moon for about 100 days or until it runs out of fuel. LADEE will then crash into the lunar surface continuing to collect data along the way.