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Atlas Launch later from KSC

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:16 pm
by martyn20
Very important launch from KSC this evening.

Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite are set to lift off together on an Atlas V rocket today at 22:12 BST. The forecast looks promising with only a 40% chance that weather could hamper the launch.
There are two aditional launch opportunities available at 22:22 BST and 22:32 BST.

From Nasa.gov

Mission Overview
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Spacecraft will fly to the moon atop the same Atlas V rocket, although they will use vastly different methods to study the lunar environment. LRO will go into orbit around the moon, turning its suite of instruments towards the moon for thorough studies. The spacecraft also will be looking for potential landing sites for astronauts.

LCROSS, on the other hand, will guide an empty upper stage on a collision course with a permanently shaded crater in an effort to kick up evidence of water at the moon's poles. LCROSS itself will also impact the lunar surface during its course of study.


This is the beginning of the US attempt to get men back on the moon, coverage will be the same as the Shuttle Missions on http://www.Nasa.gov via the public channel, the coverage has just started. The launch may be covered by the TV news channels as it is an important moment.

Image

Atlas Launch later from KSC

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:19 pm
by martyn20
The target is the 22:32 BST launch window, the others had to missed due to a thunder storm.

Atlas Launch later from KSC

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:37 pm
by martyn20
Perfect lift-off, next stop the moon

Atlas Launch later from KSC

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:20 am
by wotsit2
is this a prelude toward manned flights to the moon again martyn ? if so cant wait :)

Atlas Launch later from KSC

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:07 pm
by martyn20
wotsit2 wrote:is this a prelude toward manned flights to the moon again martyn ? if so cant wait :)


This is the first launch to the moon for 10 years and it is the beginning of the attempt to put man back on the lunar surface. Below is the mission overview's, one craft will orbit the moon and one will impact in a crater on the surface. All part of information gathering for the day men land on the moon again.

This is a good explanation of the mission from Nasa

The LRO

The spacecraft will spend at least a year in a low polar orbit approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) above the lunar surface, while its seven instruments find safe landing sites, locate potential resources, characterize the radiation environment, and test new technology.

These seven instruments will work together to give us the most comprehensive atlas of the Moon’s features and resources:

* Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation
The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) will characterize the lunar radiation environment, allowing scientists to determine potential hazards to astronauts.

* Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment
The Diviner Lunar Radiometer (DLRE) will identify cold traps – areas cold enough to preserve ice for billions of years -- and potential ice deposits as well as rough terrain, rock abundance, and other landing hazards.

* Lyman Alpha Mapping Project
The Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) will search for surface ice and frost in the polar regions and provide images of permanently shadowed regions illuminated only by starlight and the glow of interplanetary hydrogen emission, the Lyman Alpha line. The bottoms of deep craters at the lunar poles might be permanently shadowed. These areas will be very cold and might hold water ice.

* Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector
The Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) will create high-resolution maps of hydrogen distribu¬tion and gather information about the neutron compo¬nent of the lunar radiation environment. LEND data will be analyzed to search for evidence of water ice near the moon’s surface.

* Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter
The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) will mea¬sure landing site slopes, lunar surface roughness, and generate a high-resolution, three-dimensional map of the moon. LOLA also will measure and analyze the lunar topography to identify the permanently illuminated and permanently shadowed areas. Certain mountain peaks at the lunar poles might be permanently illuminated. These regions may be good places for a solar power station.

* Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera
Two narrow-angle cameras (NACs) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) will make high-resolution, black-and-white images of the surface, cap¬turing images of the poles with resolutions down to 1 meter (about 3.3 feet). A third, wide-angle camera (WAC), will take color and ultraviolet images over the com¬plete lunar surface at 100-meter (almost 330-foot) resolution. These images will show polar lighting conditions, identify potential resources and hazards, and aid selection of safe landing sites.

* Mini-RF
The Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) is an advanced radar that will be used to image the polar regions and search for water ice. In addition, it will be used to demonstrate the ability to communicate with an Earth-based ground station.

LCROSS

LCROSS is scheduled to launch with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., June 17th 2009 at 3:51 p.m. EDT. After launch, the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft and the Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage rocket will execute a fly-by of the moon and enter into an elongated Earth orbit to position LCROSS for impact on a lunar pole. On final approach, the shepherding spacecraft and Centaur will separate. The Centaur will act as a heavy impactor to create a debris plume that will rise above the lunar surface. Following four minutes behind, the shepherding spacecraft will fly through the debris plume, collecting and relaying data back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface and creating a second debris plume.

The debris plumes are expected to be visible from Earth- and space-based telescopes 10-to-12 inches and larger.

The LCROSS science payload consists of two near-infrared spectrometers, a visible light spectrometer, two mid-infrared cameras, two near-infrared cameras, a visible camera and a visible radiometer. The LCROSS instruments were selected to provide mission scientists with multiple complimentary views of the debris plume created by the Centaur impact.

As the ejecta rises above the target crater’s rim and is exposed to sunlight, any water-ice, hydrocarbons or organics will vaporize and break down into their basic components. These components primarily will be monitored by the visible and infrared spectrometers. The near-infrared and mid-infrared cameras will determine the total amount and distribution of water in the debris plume. The spacecraft’s visible camera will track the impact location and the behavior of the debris plume while the visible radiometer will measure the flash created by the Centaur impact.

NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., is overseeing the development of the LCROSS mission with its spacecraft and integration partner, Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, Calif. LCROSS is a fast-paced, low-cost, mission that will leverage some existing NASA systems, commercial-off-the-shelf components, the spacecraft expertise of Northrop Grumman and experience gained during the Lunar Prospector Mission in 1999. Ames is managing the mission, conducting mission operations, and developing the payload instruments, while Northrop Grumman designed and is building the spacecraft for this innovative mission. Ames mission scientists will spearhead the data analysis.



Atlas Launch later from KSC

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:20 pm
by wotsit2
thanks martyn ...the last time round was we're better than you are so ner ner ner ner ...lets hope this time there will be a lot more co-operation ...it'll come off and you and i will be there to see it :thumb:
i'm old so i remember the last time :)

Atlas Launch later from KSC

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:56 pm
by martyn20
NASA Lunar Mission Successfully Enters Moon Orbit

June 23 2009

Grey Hautaluoma/Ashley Edwards
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0668/1756
grey.hautaluoma-1@nasa.gov
ashley.edwards-1@nasa.gov

Nancy Neal Jones
Goddard Space Flight Center, Md.
301-286-0039
nancy.n.jones@nasa.gov

RELEASE: 09-144

NASA LUNAR MISSION SUCCESSFULLY ENTERS MOON ORBIT

GREENBELT, Md. -- 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.

"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."

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. LRO will return more data about the moon than any previous mission.

For more information about the LRO mission, visit:



http://www.nasa.gov/lro


Nasa Press Release