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Photos: NASA Launches Twin Grail Gravity Probes to the Moon

Straight Shot to the Moon

NASA/Kenny Allen

A Delta 2 Heavy rocket propels NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission into the clouds over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft launched at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011.

Grail Launches with Tower on the Left

NASA/Kenny Allen

At ignition, flames and smoke from the engines begin liftoff of the Delta 2 Heavy rocket taking NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission to the moon from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. At left stands the pad's mobile service tower. The spacecraft launched at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011.

Grail Launches Shrouded in Smoke

NASA/Tony Gray & Tim Powers

Rising through a shroud of fire and smoke after liftoff, NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission launches atop a Delta 2 Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on its way to the moon. Liftoff was at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011.

Ignition

NASA/ Tony Gray & Tim Powers

At ignition, flames and smoke from the engines begin liftoff of the Delta 2 Heavy rocket carrying NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the moon. The spacecraft launched at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011.

Tweetup Participants Watch Grail Launch

NASA/Frankie Martin

At KARS Park 1 on Merritt Island in Florida, a group of Tweetup participants watch as a Delta 2 Heavy rocket lifts off on Sept. 10, 2011, carrying NASA’s GRAIL mission to the moon. The tweeters shared their experiences with followers through the social networking site Twitter.

Members of the Media Watch Grail's Smoke Trail

NASA/Kim Shiflett

Media representatives at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida photograph the launch of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL). Liftoff was at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011.

NASA's Grail Rises on Moon Shot

NASA/Darrell McCall

Rising from fire and smoke, NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) probes launch atop a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 Heavy rocket. Leaving from Space Launch Complex 17B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the spacecraft launched at 9:08:52 EDT on Sept.10, 2011.

Delta 2 Sails With Twin Grail Moon Probes

Thom Baur, United Launch Alliance

A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket carrying the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft for NASA lifted off from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-17B at 9:08 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011. This launch was the 9th ULA flight in 2011 and 49th Delta 2 mission for NASA. It was the last currently-planned flight from this launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Grail Probes Bound for the Moon

NASA/Darrell McCall

Fire and smoke light up a blue sky as a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 Heavy rocket propels NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission into space. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 17B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida was at 9:08:52 EDT Sept.10, 2011

Grail-A Moon Probe in Space

NASA TV

This view of NASA's Grail-A spacecraft (top) shows the moon gravity probe just before it separated from its Delta 2 rocket high above Earth after a successful launch on Sept. 10, 2011. Grail-A is one of two twin spacecraft to study the moon's gravity in unprecedented detail.

Grail Launches with Service Tower Visible

NASA/Tom Farrar & Tony Gray

A Delta 2 Heavy rocket carrying NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex 17B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. At the right stands the pad's mobile service tower. The spacecraft launched at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011.

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