NASA’s Moon mission successfully completes lunar maneuverJune 24th, 2009 - 12:06 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, June 24 (ANI): NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, successfully completed its most significant early mission milestone on June 23 with a lunar swingby and calibration of its science instruments.
The satellite will search for water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the moon’s south pole.
With the assist of the moon’s gravity, LCROSS and its attached Centaur booster rocket successfully entered into polar Earth orbit at 6:20 a.m. PDT on June 23.
The maneuver puts the spacecraft and Centaur on course for a pair of impacts near the moon’s south pole on October 9.
“The successful completion of the LCROSS swingby proves the science instruments are functioning as expected. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team,” said Dan Andrews, LCROSS project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California.
“We are elated at the results from the maneuver and eagerly anticipate the impacts in early October,” he added.
During its swing by the moon, the spacecraft’s instruments were turned on and calibrated by scanning three sites on the lunar surface.
These sites were the craters Mendeleev, Goddard C and Giordano Bruno. They were selected because they offer a variety of terrain types, compositions and illumination conditions.
The spacecraft also scanned the lunar horizon to confirm its instruments are aligned in preparation for observing the Centaur’s debris plume.
“Each instrument returned good data that the science team will spend the next few weeks analyzing,” said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist at Ames.
“These data will ensure we are as prepared as possible for monitoring and interpreting data we receive during impact,” he added.
LCROSS and its attached Centaur upper stage rocket are now in a long, looping polar orbit around Earth and the moon.
Each orbit will be roughly perpendicular to the moon’s orbit around Earth and take about 37 days to complete.
Before impact, the spacecraft and Centaur will make approximately three orbits.
LCROSS and the Centaur separately will collide with the moon at approximately 7:30 a.m. EDT on October 9, creating a pair of debris plumes that will be analyzed for the presence of water ice or water vapor, hydrocarbons and hydrated materials.
The spacecraft and Centaur are targeted to impact the moon’s south pole near the Cabeus region.
The exact target crater will be identified 30 days before impact, after considering information collected by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and observatories on Earth. (ANI)
- NASA's LCROSS confirms presence of water in lunar crater - Nov 14, 2009
- NASA set to bomb the moon today - Oct 09, 2009
- NASA's water-hunting "Moon bombing" mission may have hit a "dry hole" - Oct 10, 2009
- NASA picks up new target for collecting water on moon - Sep 29, 2009
- Nasa spacecraft impacts lunar crater in search for water ice - Oct 09, 2009
- World's first thermal images of Moon's dark side unveiled - Oct 08, 2009
- There is plenty of water on the moon, NASA confirms - Nov 14, 2009
- Twin NASA probes reach lunar orbit - Jan 02, 2012
- NASA probe searches for water on Moon's south pole - Oct 13, 2009
- Chandrayaan-1 instrument finds additional evidence of water activity on Moon - Mar 02, 2010
- NASA mission to seek water ice on Moon - Feb 18, 2009
- Nasa LCROSS impact mission on moon successful - Oct 09, 2009
- NASA selects spot where it will search for water on the moon - Sep 09, 2009
- First image of the lunar plume released - Oct 18, 2009
- Water-hunting satellite to reach moon Tuesday - Jun 23, 2009
Tags: ames research center, booster rocket, earth and the moon, giordano bruno, illumination conditions, lunar crater, lunar horizon, lunar surface, moffett field california, moon mission, polar earth orbit, polar orbit, project scientist, s south, science instruments, science team, stage rocket, terrain types, upper stage, water ice