WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (WAVY) - NASA is preparing to launch a probe to the moon from Virginia's coast for the first time Friday evening.
The launch from NASA's facility on Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore is scheduled for Friday at 11:27 p.m. It will be the first time Wallops Flight Facility has launched a probe beyond Earth's orbit.
The probe is called LADEE, which is short for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. It's about the size of a car and will orbit the moon to gather details about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere. It will also determine whether dust is drifting into the lunar sky.
Brian Day of NASA said the lunar exploration is a big deal for Virginia. "We’re seeing an expansion of the access into space. There are a few selected places where this is really happening and here in Virginia is one of those places," Day said.
Thousands of people are expected to watch from Chincoteague Island, as officials closed Assateague Island for the launch. At Island Creamery, the menu offered "Moon Pie" and "Rocket Launch" desserts.
"We’ve seen a lot of uptick in business on weeknights as well as what we expect tonight," said owner Kelly Conklin.
In Wachapreague, The Island House Restaurant was getting ready for a rocket launch party.
"It's definitely a great shot in the arm, especially a time of year when you're starting to slow down after the summer," said manager Fred Wasa.
For more detailed information about the LADEE mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ladee
For more on how to view the launch from your location, click here.
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