NASA’s lunar mission successfully enters Moon orbitJune 23rd, 2009 - 7:26 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, June 23 (ANI): NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has successfully entered orbit around the moon after a four and a half day journey from the Earth.
Engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, confirmed the spacecraft’s lunar orbit insertion at 6:27 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
During transit to the moon, engineers performed a mid-course correction to get the spacecraft in the proper position to reach its lunar destination.
Since the moon is always moving, the spacecraft shot for a target point ahead of the moon.
When close to the moon, LRO used its rocket motor to slow down until the gravity of the moon caught the spacecraft in lunar orbit.
“Lunar orbit insertion is a crucial milestone for the mission,” said Cathy Peddie, LRO deputy project manager at Goddard.
“The LRO mission cannot begin until the moon captures us. Once we enter the moon’s orbit, we can begin to buildup the dataset needed to understand in greater detail the lunar topography, features and resources. We are so proud to be a part of this exciting mission and NASA’s planned return to the moon,” she added.
A series of four engine burns over the next four days will put the satellite into its commissioning phase orbit.
During the commissioning phase, each of its seven instruments is checked out and brought online.
The commissioning phase will end approximately 60 days after launch, when LRO will use its engines to transition to its primary mission orbit.
For its primary mission, LRO will orbit above the moon at about 31 miles, or 50 kilometers, for one year.
The spacecraft’s instruments will help scientists compile high resolution, three-dimensional maps of the lunar surface and also survey it at many spectral wavelengths.
The satellite will explore the moon’s deepest craters, examining permanently sunlit and shadowed regions, and provide understanding of the effects of lunar radiation on humans.
It is speculated that LRO will return more data about the moon than any previous mission. (ANI)
- NASA's new lunar mission to hunt for water on Moon - Jun 19, 2009
- NASA'S LRO completes exploration mission phase - Sep 16, 2010
- NASA's LRO creates Moon's most precise landscape yet - Dec 18, 2010
- NASA spacecraft to take images of Apollo landing sites - Aug 12, 2011
- NASA's lunar reconnaissance orbiter begins detailed mapping of moon's south pole - Sep 18, 2009
- Researchers create most comprehensive moon map - Dec 20, 2010
- NASA's LRO releases final set of data from mission's exploration phase - Mar 16, 2011
- Twin NASA probes reach lunar orbit - Jan 02, 2012
- NASA spacecraft gets its first look at Apollo moon landing sites - Jul 18, 2009
- 'Crater wall on lunar surface holds ice' - Aug 30, 2012
- NASA''s next Moon mission successfully completes thermal vacuum testing - Dec 23, 2008
- Satellites' launch to give boost to NASA's 'return to Moon' mission - May 22, 2009
- NASA's MESSENGER begins historic orbit around Mercury - Mar 18, 2011
- NASA's Messenger spacecraft begins historic orbit around mercury - Mar 18, 2011
- Moon's surface more complex than previously thought - Sep 17, 2010
Tags: deputy project manager, dimensional maps, goddard space flight, goddard space flight center, greenbelt maryland, lro, lunar mission, lunar orbit insertion, lunar reconnaissance orbiter, lunar surface, lunar topography, mid course correction, mission orbit, moon orbit, orbit around the moon, peddie, return to the moon, rocket motor, space flight center, target point