NASA heads back to the moon
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter lifted off aboard an Atlas V Rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 5:32 p.m. ET, powered by two liquid-fueled engines and a pair of solid-fueled boosters.
NASA described the liftoff as "flawless" on its Web site.
It is the first mission in NASA's plan to return to the moon, then travel to Mars and beyond, NASA said. The data that the orbiter collects and sends back to Earth will be used to build an eventual lunar outpost, NASA said.