On Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, United Launch Alliance (ULA) personnel in the Delta Operations Building prepare for the launch of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission aboard a ULA Delta II Heavy rocket. Physical control of the rocket is maintained from the building, located about a mile from Space Launch Complex 17B. The room functions as a "soft blockhouse" and is the room from which the computer-generated command to launch the rocket is issued two seconds before liftoff.
Launch is scheduled for 8:37:06 a.m. EDT Sept. 8. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem around the moon to precisely measure and map variations in the moon's gravitational field. The mission will provide the most accurate global gravity field to date for any planet, including Earth. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/grail. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett