This blog follows the progress of the LRO mission through Integration and Testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and launch site processing at KSC\Astrotech. Its purpose is to enable communication to the entire LRO Team about the status of ongoing activities.

LRO was launched June 18th, 2009 at 5:32pm EDT from KSC. This BLOG will follow the progress of the mission as LRO travels to the Moon and establishes orbit around it.

This BLOG will be periodically updated during LRO's early mission but as the nominal mission unfolds the official NASA LRO website and the LRO Science Instrument's own websites will evolve into a more interesting sources of LRO science results as postings appear there first and LRO engineering and operations (source of this site) will become increasingly routine.




Wednesday, June 24, 2009

LRO Status 6/23/2009 6:35pm EDT

Since the LOI-2 burn the mission has unfolded per our planned timeline without any anomalies. At this point in the day the planning process for the upcoming LOI-3 burn has begun. LOI-3 will be at 6:32am EDT and lasts 13 minutes. This burn is the next in our series of 5 burns to place LRO in the commissioning orbit. The commissioning orbit is 30x216 km and is a quasi-frozen orbit which requires almost no fuel to maintain. In contrast our 50km circular nominal mission orbit requires about 90kg of fuel each year to maintain.

About a week and half after reaching the commissioning orbit we will begin activating the remaining instruments and start calibrating them. These have not been turned on yet for a number of reasons. First, the insertion at the Moon is a critical and time constrained phase of the mission and the prime focus is safely delivering LRO into the right orbit. Secondly, the instruments (except the radiation instruments which are already on) are not designed to yield very useful or interesting data from anywhere except LRO's planned orbits. The cameras in particular are designed to build their images as the lunar surfaces passes through their FOV at ~1.6 km/s as LRO orbits the Moon. They cannot be simply pointed at the moon or earth during our transit to the Moon and snap a photo. To better understand the line-array (NACs) and push-frame (WAC) camera designs an overview paper on LRO's instrument is available at http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/library.html

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