NASA’s sending something to the moon. Will you be able to see the launch?

September 3, 2013

Will you be able to see it? (NASA Wallops Flight Facility)

It's still just over a month until real space week. (Yes, that's a thing. It's Oct. 4-10.) But The Switch is having a mini-space week starting now as we gear up to cover the the launch of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) on Friday. LADEE is an unmanned orbital probe that will take a look at the Moon's super thin atmosphere (or "exosphere") and test out some new technology like broadband Internet space lasers during its 100-day mission.

Weather permitting, it'll launch Sept. 6 at 11:27 p.m. EDT from the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Virginia shore. The Switch will be onsite for the launch and keep you updated, but if you're on the East Coast, you might be able to see it just by looking up.

In fact, if it's a clear night, D.C. residents should even be able to see it over some of the city's most famous sites, as shown below:


(Orbital Sciences Corp./Carlos Niederstrasser)

(Orbital Sciences Corp./Carlos Niederstrasser)

(Orbital Sciences Corp./Carlos Niederstrasser)

For more some other projected view spots, check out NASA's LADEE launch visibility page.

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Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Brian Fung · September 3, 2013