VIRGINIA (AP) - NASA's newest robotic explorer has already run into some equipment trouble.
NASA officials say the LADEE spacecraft was spinning too fast after it separated from the final rocket stage. But they say the lunar probe is safe and remains on a perfect track for the moon.
An unmanned rocket blasted off from Virginia's Eastern Shore late Friday night, carrying LADEE. It was a change of venue for NASA, which typically launches its moon missions from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch provided a rare light show along the East Coast for those blessed with clear skies.
NASA expected the launch to be visible, weather permitting, as far south as South Carolina, as far north as Maine and as far west as Pittsburgh.
LADEE should reach the moon on Oct. 6. It will orbit Earth's closest neighbor for a few months, analyzing the ever-so-delicate atmosphere and lunar dust. The six-month mission costs $280 million.