Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kepler Spacecraft Begins Astronomy Mission

This evening's launch of the Delta II from here at the Cape was a complete success, as minutes ago the rocket's payload - NASA's Kepler Telescope - separated from it's third stage engine and thus began it's for years of space exploration. The entire launch phase of the United Launch Alliance's Delta II was nominal as it boosted Kepler into space. Spacecraft separation occurred at 11:53 pm EST.

Liftoff occurred on time at 10:49:57 pm EST, following a nominal countdown.

At 11:57 pm, Kepler was located 950 miles above earth, traveling at a speed of 6.6 miles per second - or 23,760 mph.
Kepler will now undergo a two month checkout and systems testing period prior to going operational.

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