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LCROSS

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LCROSS spacecraft anomaly

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 25.08.2009]
Upon starting an early morning communications pass on Aug. 22, 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission operations team discovered the spacecraft had experienced an anomaly.

According to spacecraft data, the LCROSS Inertial Reference Unit (IRU) experienced a fault. The IRU is a sensor used by the spacecraft's attitude control system (ACS) to measure the orientation of the spacecraft. The anomaly caused the spacecraft ACS to switch to the Star Tracker Assembly for spacecraft rate information and caused the spacecraft's thruster to fire excessively, consuming a substantial amount of fuel. Initial estimates indicate that the spacecraft still contains sufficient fuel to complete the full mission.

LPI Announces New Public Moon Website

MyMoon Logo. Credits: LPI

[LPI Press Release - 21.07.2009]
The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is pleased to announce the release of an expanding lunar education new-media portal, MyMoon. MyMoon leverages our new scientific exploration of the Moon and innovative social networking opportunities to engage a fresh new audience in lunar science and exploration - the Net Generation. LPI is collaborating with lunar scientists, educators, artists - and the public - to populate it with science content, diverse media exhibits, events, and opportunities for involvement. Through MyMoon, the public can interact with lunar content that will inform them about NASA's lunar science research and missions, and engage them in future plans for lunar exploration and eventual habitation.

Moonship Photographed by Backyard Astronomers

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Science Article - 09.07.2009]
On June 29th, neighbors of Paul Mortfield in Ontario, Canada, heard "cheers of excitement" coming from the astronomer's house. What caused the commotion?

"I had just observed NASA's LCROSS spacecraft," explains Mortfield. Using no more than a backyard telescope, he caught it zipping past spiral galaxy IC3808.

LCROSS is the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite. It left Earth June 18th atop an Atlas V rocket on a mission to crash into the Moon. On Oct. 9th, NASA plans to plunge LCROSS headfirst into a deep crater near the Moon's south pole. Researchers hope the debris it kicks up will reveal water and other minerals of use to future lunar explorers.

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 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.

NASA Details Plans for Lunar Exploration Robotic Missions

LRO in orbit around the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 21.05.2009]
NASA's return to the moon will get a boost in June with the launch of two satellites that will return a wealth of data about Earth's nearest neighbor. On Thursday, the agency outlined the upcoming missions of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS. The spacecraft will launch together June 17 aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA Announces Briefing about Satellite Missions to the Moon

LCROSS heading towards the Moon. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 19.05.2009]
NASA will hold a briefing about two upcoming lunar missions scheduled to launch in June that will begin a journey to better understand the moon. A briefing with members of the mission and science teams will be held Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m. EDT, in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street, SW, in Washington. The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency's Web site.

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