Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Launch Scheduled for Dec. 11

WISE inside the Delta II payload fairing
Image above: NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has been wrapped in the outer nose cone, or "fairing," that will protect it during its scheduled Dec. 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Image credit: NASA/VAFB

Liftoff of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Launch and mission managers finished the Flight Readiness Review on Sunday and gave their "go" to load propellants into the Delta II rocket's second stage today. The scheduled Launch Readiness Review and press conferences will take place Wednesday, Dec. 9.

This week at Vandenberg, weather officials predict intermittent showers, wind and thick clouds due to an approaching front. The official launch forecast will be available closer to launch day.

The WISE spacecraft will circle Earth over the poles, scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months. The mission will uncover hidden cosmic objects, including the coolest stars, dark asteroids and the most luminous galaxies.

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