Blogs

NASA Gives Media, Public Look Inside Apollo Moon Rock Vault

Lunex honorary board member Harrison Schmitt on the surface of the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.06.2009]
NASA will offer reporters an unprecedented chance to conduct interviews with scientists inside the lab that stores moon rocks Apollo astronauts collected during their six missions. The July
2 interview opportunities from the Apollo Lunar Sample Processing Lab and Storage Vaults at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will take place nearly 40 years after humans first walked on the moon.

NASA Partners With California Space Authority; Regolith Challenge

Artist impression of a regolith exavator. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.06.2009]
NASA today announced that it has signed an agreement with the California Space Authority, Inc., (CSA) to collaborate on participatory science and public outreach using a simulated lunar surface environment.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, CSA will establish an office at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., in NASA Research Park. This fall, NASA Ames and CSA, along with its sister organization, the California Space Education and Workforce Institute, will host the Regolith Excavation Challenge, a prize competition focused on developing improved lunar regolith handling technologies.

German team Part-Time-Scientists Enters $30 million Google Lunar X-Prize competition

Google Lunar Xprize logo. Credits: Xprize

[X Prize Press Release - 24.06.2009]
Today, Team Part-Time-Scientists announced its official entry into the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, marking Germany’s debut in this new race to the Moon. The team joins the $30 million contest that challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch a privately funded spacecraft to the Moon. The spacecraft must complete a series of exploration and transmission tasks as outlined in the competition’s official rules. Team Part-Time-Scientists, headquartered in Berlin, Germany has seven team members and is among 19 teams from 42 countries that are competing for their share of the multi-million dollar prize purse.

NASA Moon Impactor Successfully Completes Lunar Maneuver

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 23.06.2009]
The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, successfully completed its most significant early mission milestone Tuesday 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 Oct. 9.

NASA Lunar Mission Successfully Enters Moon Orbit

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 23.06.2009]
After a four and a half day journey from the Earth, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has successfully entered orbit around the moon. Engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., confirmed the spacecraft's lunar orbit insertion at 6:27 a.m. EDT 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.

Last shots captured by the Kaguya HD camera

Kaguya in orbit around the Moon. Credits: Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA

[JAXA Press Release - 19.06.2009]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) would like to release the final still images taken by the onboard High Definition Television (HDTV) of the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" just prior to its maneuvered falling to the Moon. The images are attached below. The KAGUYA was launched on September 14, 2007, and was controlled to be dropped to the Moon on June 11, 2009, as its mission was completed.

NASA Successfully Launches Lunar Impactor

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

NASA successfully launched the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, Thursday on a mission to search for water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the moon's south pole. The satellite lifted off on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 5:32 p.m. EDT, with a companion mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO.

LRO safely separated from LCROSS 45 minutes later. LCROSS then was powered-up, and the mission operations team at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., performed system checks that confirmed the spacecraft is fully functional.

NASA Returning to the Moon with First Lunar Launch in a Decade

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 19.06.2009]
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter launched at 5:32 p.m. EDT Thursday aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The satellite will relay more information about the lunar environment than any other previous mission to the moon.

The orbiter, known as LRO, separated from the Atlas V rocket carrying it and a companion mission, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and immediately began powering up the components necessary to control the spacecraft. The flight operations team established communication with LRO and commanded the successful deployment of the solar array at 7:40 p.m. The operations team continues to check out the spacecraft subsystems and prepare for the first mid-course correction maneuver. NASA scientists expect to establish communications with LCROSS about four hours after launch, at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Lunar Exploration Missions Roll to Pad for Thursday Launch

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 17.06.2009]
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, rolled aboard their Atlas V rocket to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Wednesday morning in preparation for launch on Thursday. The spacecraft left its processing facility at 10:02 EDT and arrived at the pad about 35 minutes later.

NASA Sets New Launch Dates for Space Shuttle, LRO and LCROSS

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 15.06.2009]
NASA managers have scheduled the next launch attempt of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-127 mission for 5:40 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 17. The launch will take place at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As a result, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, are set to lift off together aboard an Atlas V rocket on Thursday, June 18. There are three launch opportunities from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida: 5:12 p.m., 5:22 p.m. and 5:32 p.m.

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