National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content
Image of Moon and GRAIL Spacecraft
Image of Moon and GRAIL Spacecraft
NASA Banner
GRAIL: Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory
Multimedia

Lift off

 
 
Lift off
At ignition, flames and smoke from the engines begin liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy rocket carrying NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission off Space Launch Complex 17B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft launched at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT Sept. 10. GRAIL-A will separate from the second stage of the rocket at about one hour, 21 minutes after liftoff, followed by GRAIL-B at 90 minutes after launch. The spacecraft are embarking on a three-month journey to reach the moon. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem around the moon to precisely measure and map variations in the moon's gravitational field. The mission will provide the most accurate global gravity field to date for any planet, including Earth. This detailed information will reveal differences in the density of the moon's crust and mantle and will help answer fundamental questions about the moon's internal structure, thermal evolution, and history of collisions with asteroids. The aim is to map the moon's gravity field so completely that future moon vehicles can safely navigate anywhere on the moon's surface.

Credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph and Don Kight


Credit: NASA/KSC

Back to GRAIL Home

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Webmaster: Maryia Davis, Sandra Cosic
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 10 Sep 2011