(WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.) — The newest spacecraft launched by NASA took off from Virginia on Friday with the intent to study the atmosphere and dust on the moon.
The craft, named Ladee (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) will make three laps around the earth before entering lunar orbit.
Most launches occur in Cape Canaveral, Fla., but Ladee was launched using an Air Force Minotaur V rocket, which can only be launched from certain locations due to a U.S-Russian treaty, reports The Guardian.
The rover, the size of a small car, will take about one month to reach the moon, well longer than the typical three day trip, according to The Guardian. The $280 million mission will last about six months.
The launch was the first to take place at Wallops that wasn’t limited to earth’s orbit.
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Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Holly Yan, CNN
Joe Sutton, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN Newswire
Ralph Ellis, CNN