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NASA's WISE Spacecraft has launched!

Published by Matt on Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:12 pm via: NASA
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The Delta II rocket’s main engine has completed its burn, and the second stage has ignited. The nose cone covering WISE has split open like a clamshell and fallen away as expected.

The United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite aboard lifts off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Image credit: NASA TV

The United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite aboard lifts off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Image credit: NASA TV

WISE headed for space after a morning liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. After a smooth countdown, the rocket’s main engine and three graphite-epoxy solid-rocket motors roared to life for an on-time liftoff at 6:09 a.m. PST (9:09 a.m. EST).

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.

Delta II launch vehicle. Credit: ULA

Delta II launch vehicle. Credit: ULA

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