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15-Aug-11 | Next launch

The next Delta II launch will send NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission toward the Moon. There, GRAIL will “create the most accurate gravitational map of the Moon to date, improving our knowledge of near-side gravity by 100 times and of far-side gravity by 1000 times.” This high-resolution map will help scientists to better understand the Moon’s internal composition. The twin spacecraft, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B, completed their final inspections at the Astrotech facility on Tuesday, 9 August, and will be transported to Space Launch Complex 17 this week.

The two-stage Delta II Heavy launch vehicle has been stacked on pad 17B since 20 May, and pre-launch testing has been in work since then. The launch period opens on 8 September.


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