WISE Launch Scheduled for Dec. 11

December 4, 2009,
WISE is shown inside one-half of the nose cone, or fairing, that will protect it during launch. The spacecraft is clamped to the top of the rocket above the white conical fitting. The fairing will split open like a clamshell about five minutes after launch. Image credit: United Launch Alliance/ JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- Launch 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 will gather at Vandenberg today for the Flight Readiness Review to verify the Delta II rocket and its payload are ready for liftoff.

At Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 2, the spacecraft is safely tucked into in the outer nose cone, or "fairing," that will protect it during its launch and ascent.

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.

More information: NASA's WISE infrared satellite to reveal new galaxies, stars, asteroids

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

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