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Unmanned moon rocket launch Thursday

June 18, 2009 12:28:29 PM PDT
NASA plans to launch an unmanned rocket to the moon Thursday, the first such mission in a decade. The space agency announced plans for the Cape Canaveral launch Wednesday 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 says there are also three possible time slots Friday evening if the launch has to be delayed.

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