NASA's LADEE spacecraft is safely on its way to the moon following an 11:27 p.m. EDT (3:27 UTC) launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast. The launch vehicle, a five-stage Orbital Sciences Corporation Minotaur V, released the lunar-bound dust explorer at 11:50 p.m.
LADEE lifts off The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft lifts off from Wallops Island, Va. on Sept. 6, 2013.Video: NASA
LADEE will begin its mission by orbiting the Earth three times in elliptical phasing orbits, which will take about 24 days. After that, an engine burn will send the spacecraft into a lunar transition path, cruising to the moon over a five-day course.
For more on the LADEE mission, check out Emily's pre-launch press kit cheat sheet.