Europe sets date to launch moon probe
Artist's impression of SMART-1
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) - Europe's first moon probe is expected to lift off from French Guiana at the end of September after its launch was delayed twice in recent weeks, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Friday.
The scheduled launch of the Ariane-5 rocket carrying the SMART-1 moon probe was delayed from August 28 and September 3 at the request of a consortium with a commercial satellite on board, the ESA said.
"The expectation is that the launch will now take place at the end of September," the agency said in a statement.
A date for the launch was to be announced next week.
The probe, which will orbit the moon to study its surface, is expected take around 16 months to reach its destination. It will search for signs of water in moon craters and try to shed light on the origins of Earth's closest neighbor.
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