Science/Tech
10:04 am
Thu June 18, 2009

NASA aims for unmanned moon rocket launch Thursday

WASHINGTON – NASA will try to head back to the moon this afternoon.

The unmanned rocket launch marks the first such mission in a decade.

The space agency announced plans for the launch yesterday after deciding to postpone a space shuttle mission because of a hydrogen gas leak. The timing for the moon mission couldn't be set until NASA knew whether the shuttle plans would go forward.

The robotic moon probes will hunt for hidden ice. The mission will cost $583 million. NASA has three split-second times to try to launch the Atlas V rocket carrying the two lunar probes. They are at 5:12 p.m., 5:22 p.m., and 5:32 p.m. EDT.

NASA spokeswoman Ashley Edwards said the weather forecast is good for launch.