The Kepler telescope launched aboard a Delta II rocket on March 3rd, 2009 at 3:49am UTC.
The Kepler Mission will use a space photometer developed by NASA to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. It will observe the brightness of over 100,000 stars over 3.5 years to detect periodic transits of a star by its planets (the transit method). The mission is named in honor of Johannes Kepler.
Kepler is a mission under NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, focused science missions. NASA's Ames Research Center is the home organization of the science principal investigator and is responsible for the ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. Kepler mission development is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is responsible for developing the Kepler flight system.