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ToSeek
2006-Feb-08, 05:46 PM
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Searching For A 'New Moon' (http://space.com/businesstechnology/060207_lro_technology.html)


NASA's back to the Moon adventure is being kick-started by the building of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. That probe is the opening volley of spacecraft in response to President George W. Bush's multi-billion dollar Vision for Space Exploration that he outlined in January 2004.

A goal of the Vision is returning humans to the Moon as early as 2015 and no later than 2020.

To make that happen, starting no later than 2008, a series of robotic missions will be sent to the lunar surface "to research and prepare for future human exploration," Bush proclaimed.

This week, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) begins a preliminary design review. A process that is sure to reflect the financial stress and strain status of NASA's newly issued budget for fiscal year 2007.

(The PDR is taking place in this very building.)

And for the conspiracy theorists:


"We will image the Apollo sites and you will see the descent stages sitting on the surface," Robinson said. LROC will clearly see the overall shape of that landing hardware, but won't be able to resolve such things as the insignia on the side of the descent stage, or see the stripes on astronaut-planted flags, he said.

Superluminal
2006-Feb-09, 01:49 AM
If NASA can get the lighting just right so that the shadow's are parrellel, maybe we can fool them this time.

spfrss
2006-Feb-09, 07:31 AM
If NASA can get the lighting just right so that the shadow's are parrellel, maybe we can fool them this time.
I gave away any hope. Once I find MoonHoax a pretty amusing thing, now it just saddens me.:sad:

Mauro

snabald
2006-Feb-09, 11:28 AM
I gave away any hope. Once I find MoonHoax a pretty amusing thing, now it just saddens me.:sad:

Mauro
You could probably take one of these "moon hoax" guys to the moon and show them a descent stage laying on the surface, and they would still say it was all stagged!

Wolverine
2006-Feb-09, 03:12 PM
Go LRO! Can't wait to see the first imagery.

Launch window
2006-Feb-12, 06:46 AM
Photo probe will pave way for manned moon mission
NASA is to launch a probe that will photograph the moon in 50cm sections, giving a full picture of the lunar surface for the very first time.
http://www.sundayherald.com/54031
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is due to take off in 2008 and will spend at least a year taking various photographs of the surface of the moon, including the landing sites of the four manned Apollo moon landing missions.
The pictures will be detailed enough to reveal the footprints of astronauts including Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, as well as the famous Stars and Stripes flag that they raised on their Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
The possibility of finding water trapped in frozen ponds inside meteor craters will also be explored by the LRO in preparation for sending humans back to the moon. The United States has said it wants to launch a new series of manned lunar expeditions by 2015. If water is discovered there in advance it could dictate where any new missions would land and what experiments they would carry ou

Launch window
2006-Feb-14, 02:10 AM
Some more info on NASA's LRO
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=LUNARRO
http://www.bu.edu/alumni/cas/magazine/archives/2005/spring/bucentral/space/
LRO is an unmanned orbiter planned for launch to the Moon in October 2008.


There are 2 other missions that may take photos of the Apollo sites before LRO

Smart1, the European Space Agency is using SMART-1 to test advanced technologies needed for future missions. The spacecraft is propelled towards the Moon by an innovative solar electric propulsion system. SMART-1's instruments have used the latest miniaturisation technologies.
http://www.guarniero.nl/large_models/gallery/SMART.htm
http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/HotTopics/index.php?/categories/8-ESA
A secondary objective is to learn more information about the Moon, such as how it was created. SMART-1 will map the lunar surface by way of X-ray and infrared imaging, taking images from several different angles so that the Moon's surface can be mapped in three dimensions. It will also determine the Moon's chemical composition using X-ray spectroscopy. A specific goal is to use infrared light to search for frozen water at the Moon's south pole, where some areas of the surface are never exposed to direct sunlight. It is also mapping the Moon's Peaks of Eternal Light (PELs), eerie mountaintops which are permanently bathed in sunlight and surrounded by craters shaded in eternal darkness.

Chang'e ( Chinese ) scheduled to be launched between April 17 and April 19, 2007 , The Chang'e 1 satellite will carry 24 pieces of lunar probe equipment, including CCD three-dimensional cameras, microprobe instruments and a high-energy sun particle detector. According to the design, the satellite will weigh 2,350 kg, with a 130 kg of payload, and will orbit the moon for one year. The rocket used to launch the spacecraft will be China's Long March 3A, which will launch Chang'e 1 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province. Ouyang Ziyuan announced the Chang'e Programme (then still awaiting government approval), named after the Chinese legend about a young fairy that flew to the moon.
http://www.skyrocket.de/space/doc_sdat/change-1.htm
http://www.gmw.cn/content/2005-12/20/content_348826.htm
The full program consists of lunar orbiters, lunar rovers and a soil return spacecraft. The rover and lander would have to await availability of the heavy-lift CZ-5 after 2010.


Russia, India and Japan are also said to be planning new lunar missions

Wolverine
2006-Apr-06, 06:22 PM
In light of this (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.rss.html?id=1111), perhaps we'll learn more soon about the possible LRO piggyback.

ToSeek
2006-Apr-07, 04:45 PM
JPL Set To Have A Big Impact With Next Lunar Mission (http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/JPL_Set_To_Have_A_Big_Impact_With_Next_Lunar_Missi on.html)


"SpaceDaily" has learned that the choice for NASA's next lunar mission, to be announced on Monday, will be the "Lunar Impactor" proposed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
...
The probe will crash at several thousand km/hour into the lunar surface and hopefully into one of the permanently shadowed craters located near the south pole. The resulting impact debris thrown up will provide additional information on the amount of ice that is thought to be mixed into the lunar soil there.

Launch window
2006-Apr-08, 12:21 AM
JPL Set To Have A Big Impact With Next Lunar Mission (http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/JPL_Set_To_Have_A_Big_Impact_With_Next_Lunar_Missi on.html)

thanks for that update, I'm glad its not just an orbiter this mission is starting to look better and better

Larry Jacks
2006-Apr-09, 09:37 PM
"We will image the Apollo sites and you will see the descent stages sitting on the surface," Robinson said. LROC will clearly see the overall shape of that landing hardware, but won't be able to resolve such things as the insignia on the side of the descent stage, or see the stripes on astronaut-planted flags, he said.

I've often wondered about the condition of the LM descent stages. They all landed with residual propellant on board (Apollo 11 didn't have much!). Over more than 30 years of freeze/thaw cycles and considering the highly corrosive nature of hypergolic propellants, I wonder if the descent stages are still intact. It seems possible that the propellant lines or the tanks might possibly have ruptured or corroded through, possibly allowing the propellants to mix. Hypergolic propellants don't expand when they freeze like water, but frozen plugs of propellant in the lines can cause a line to rupture if the thaw happens unevenly.

antoniseb
2006-Apr-09, 10:20 PM
I've often wondered about the condition of the LM descent stages. They all landed with residual propellant on board (Apollo 11 didn't have much!). Over more than 30 years of freeze/thaw cycles and considering the highly corrosive nature of hypergolic propellants, I wonder if the descent stages are still intact. It seems possible that the propellant lines or the tanks might possibly have ruptured or corroded through, possibly allowing the propellants to mix. Hypergolic propellants don't expand when they freeze like water, but frozen plugs of propellant in the lines can cause a line to rupture if the thaw happens unevenly.

How would this be any different than the condition of any long lived Sun orbiting spacecraft? Most have Hypergolics for attitude control. I'm thinking that the LMs will be pretty much as we left them, just dustier, with a possible puncture or two.

Larry Jacks
2006-Apr-10, 07:05 PM
Sun orbiting spacecraft don't have the moon's long day/night cycles. A lunar day lasts 14 Earth days and so do the nights. Weight was at an absolute premium on the Lunar Modules so they didn't have much in the way of insulation to keep things from freezing. They didn't need the insulation because they landed during lunar morning.

A satellite in low earth orbit goes into and out of darkness very quickly. Even a satellite out at geosynch goes into the Earth's shadow for a maximum of about 72 minutes a day and only then during eclipse season. Eclipse season lasts for about 30 days on either side of an equinox, with the first eclipses only lasting a few minutes.

Sun orbiting spacecraft have solar panels, batteries, and heaters to keep propellant lines from freezing. The LM didn't have solar panels, the batteries died decades ago, and the heaters were probably minimal because they weren't needed so much.

antoniseb
2006-Apr-10, 07:23 PM
Sun orbiting spacecraft don't have the moon's long day/night cycles.

You may be right. We'll know for sure in twenty or thirty years. My sense is that even if you are right that the fuel was corrosive, and would have escaped its tanks, or fuel lines that the low pressure around the vehicle would have resulted in such rapid evaporation that none of the visible structure of the lower stage of the LM would be visibly altered.

ToSeek
2006-Apr-10, 09:24 PM
The article about JPL winning this mission has been retracted.

New NASA Ames Spacecraft to Look for Ice at Lunar South Pole (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2006/06_21AR.html)


NASA today announced that a small, 'secondary payload' spacecraft, to be developed by a team at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., has been selected to travel to the moon to look for precious water ice at the lunar south pole in October 2008.

The smaller secondary payload spacecraft will travel with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) satellite to the moon on the same rocket, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), to be launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The NASA Ames team proposed the secondary payload mission, which will be carried out by the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).

"The LCROSS mission gives the agency an excellent opportunity to answer the question about water ice on the moon," said Daniel Andrews of NASA Ames, whose team proposed the LCROSS mission. "We think we have assembled a very creative, highly innovative mission, turning the upper stage of the rocket that brought us to the moon into a substantial impactor on the moon."

After launch, the secondary payload LCROSS spacecraft will arrive in the lunar vicinity independent of the LRO satellite. On the way to the moon, the LCROSS spacecraft's two main parts, the Shepherding Spacecraft (S-S/C) and the Earth Departure Upper Stage (EDUS), will remain coupled.

As the spacecraft approaches the moon's south pole, the upper stage will separate, and then will impact a crater in the south pole area. A plume from the upper stage crash will develop as the Shepherding Spacecraft heads in toward the moon. The Shepherding Spacecraft will fly through the plume, and instruments on the spacecraft will analyze the cloud to look for signs of water and other compounds. Additional space and Earth-based instruments also will study the 2.2-million-pound (1000-metric-ton) plume.

Larry Jacks
2006-Apr-10, 09:41 PM
You may be right. We'll know for sure in twenty or thirty years. My sense is that even if you are right that the fuel was corrosive, and would have escaped its tanks, or fuel lines that the low pressure around the vehicle would have resulted in such rapid evaporation that none of the visible structure of the lower stage of the LM would be visibly altered.

We probably won't have to wait for 20-30 years. LRO should have sufficient resolution to see if any damage is present in the LM descent stages. Hypergolic propellants used in the LM are highly corrosive and toxic, too. Hydrazine is truly nasty stuff. It also ignites on contact with a lot of other substances. If there was a leak, especially if both propellant types leaked, then things could've been nasty. In addition, the sides of the LM descent stage were covered with very thin mylar instead of metal panels. Hydrazine would eat through mylar very quickly.

This is just supposition on my part. There may be no damage at all. I'm just speculating about potential damage if there were propellant leaks, not asserting that the leaks definitely happened. There are other possible type of damage, such as if the batteries cracked or exploded. It happens from time to time on satellites and the results aren't pretty.

ToSeek
2006-Apr-10, 11:07 PM
Ha! You're just setting up NASA's cover story for when they image the landing sites and the lunar modules aren't there!

ToSeek
2006-May-18, 09:04 PM
NASA Set To Launch Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2008 (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.rss.html?pid=19872)


After successful completion of its mission confirmation review on Wednesday, May 17, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter project has been given the authority to proceed to the implementation phase.

The confirmation review represents NASA's formal decision for authorizing additional work and sets the project's cost estimate. The mission was deemed to be within budget and on schedule to launch in October 2008.

This is a routine hoop for missions to jump through, but it's not automatic, so this is positive for the project.

publiusr
2006-May-19, 08:16 PM
Looks like Delta IV will get a work out. This was just a bone Griffin had to give to the EELV salesmen.

ToSeek
2006-Jul-31, 03:04 PM
Nope!:

Lockheed Martin's Atlas V Selected to Launch Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.rss.html?pid=20507)


Lockheed Martin's Atlas V rocket has been selected by NASA to launch the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission in 2008 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. LRO represents NASA's first step toward returning humans to the surface of the moon. The mission will be launched using an Atlas V 401 configuration.
...
Atlas V has now been selected for five NASA exploration missions, two of which have already been launched successfully: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in August 2005 and Pluto New Horizons in January 2006. Atlas V will also launch the Solar Dynamics Observatory in 2008 and the Mars Science Laboratory in 2009.

Sticks
2007-Nov-26, 12:04 PM
I suspect as the date is 2005, this is old news

For the first time since the 1970s, a NASA spacecraft will get clear pictures of Apollo relics on the Moon. (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/11jul_lroc.htm)

If we do get the images of the landing sites, will the HB's just scream "Photoshop" :wall:

I found this link in this thread (http://community.channel4.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/503603557/m/6770029939), of the UK Channel 4 forum.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-28, 09:07 PM
If we do get the images of the landing sites, will the HB's just scream "Photoshop" :wall:

Well, now the Chinese will be able to back us up. Except of course their government is controlled by the Illuminati too. :rolleyes:

djellison
2007-Nov-28, 10:19 PM
Actually of the flotilla that's there, or about to be sent - LRO's LROC will be the only one with the resolution to resolve the hardware on the ground. Kaguya (10m) and Chandrayaan (5m) lack the resolution to see anything other than long shadows.

Doug

01101001
2008-Jul-29, 10:33 PM
Old topic, revived for news.

Planetary Society Weblog: A launch slip for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (not their fault) (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001575/)


[...] the launch of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, erstwhile planned for late November, has been pushed to the end of February or early March. The reason is that another payload -- Internet rumors state it's a Defense department payload -- wants to get bumped up in the launch schedule to get off the ground before the end of 2008. Bruce noted that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team is not arguing with the slip because it gives them a little more leeway in the final stages of their assembly and testing, and that the launch opportunities are more favorable for a February-March launch period.

NASA: LRO Launch Information (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/launch/index.html)


LRO is scheduled for launch Feb. 27, 2009, on an Atlas V 401 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center.

ryanmercer
2008-Jul-31, 01:33 AM
Good, more proof for the girl behind me at work that we DID land on the moon... although I know an engineer from the Gemini project that swears up and down it was impossible... I think he's just sore he didn't work for the Apollo missions :)

ToSeek
2008-Jul-31, 03:02 AM
LRO is on a really tight schedule - this is a major blessing for them. I saw it in the clean room a month or two ago, and it wasn't even finished yet. Rumor is that they wanted to launch before January 2009 for fear that a new administration would cancel the mission. But that schedule is based on politics rather than engineering.

Cugel
2008-Aug-01, 01:20 PM
http://www.aviationnow.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/SPACE07298.xml&headline=USAF%20Sets%20Orbital%20Spaceplane%20Test %20Flight&channel=space

X-37B has taken LRO's Atlas-V time slot.

clint_dreamer
2008-Aug-01, 05:17 PM
LRO is on a really tight schedule - this is a major blessing for them. I saw it in the clean room a month or two ago, and it wasn't even finished yet. Rumor is that they wanted to launch before January 2009 for fear that a new administration would cancel the mission. But that schedule is based on politics rather than engineering.

As first I was a little bummed about the delay (mainly because I want my name to be launched already!:)), but after reading ToSeek's message it sounds like good news for all involved. Personally I cannot wait to see the results,