Encyclopedia Astronautica

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was a NASA spacecraft that comprehensively mapped the lunar surface at a resolution of up to 0.5 m and determined the extent of water ice for possible use by future manned bases.

The spacecraft's mission was to prepare the way for future Project Constellation manned landings by determinig the location and extent of possible water ice below the lunar surface; and to comprehensively map the surface to allow planning for future manned landings and bases. LRO would also observe the LROSS impact probe's debris cloud to determine the amount of subsurface ice in the permanently shadowed area of a single polar crater. Project Constellation was however cancelled before the spacecraft completed its mission. The satellite's payloads were:

  • CRaTER: Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation to characterize the global lunar radiation environment
  • DLRE: Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment to measure lunar surface thermal emission
  • LAMP: Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project ultraviolet telescope, to detect water ice in permanently shadowed craters
  • LEND: Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector to detect possible near-surface water ice deposits
  • LOLA: Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter to provide a precise global lunar topographic model and geodetic grid
  • LROC: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera to provide images for future manned landing site certification. LROC included a pair of narrow-angle cameras (NAC) and a single wide-angle camera (WAC)
  • Mini-RF: Miniature Radio Frequency radar to demonstrate lightweight SAR and communications technologies and locate potential water-ice

First Launch: 2009.06.18.
Last Launch: 2009.06.18.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...

LRO Chronology

2009 June 18 - . 21:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • LRO - . Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Spacecraft: LRO. USAF Sat Cat: 35315 . COSPAR: 2009-031A. Summary: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • LCROSS - . Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Spacecraft: LRO. USAF Sat Cat: 35316 . COSPAR: 2009-031B. Lunar impact probe, designed to detect ice in the lunar polar regions. LCROSS and the Centaur stage flew 3270 km from the Moon at 1030 GMT on June 23 and were hurled to a 5820,00 km apogee. On 9 October LCROSS separated from the Centaur. The Centaur impacted in Cabeus crater at 11:31 GMT on 9 October followed by LCROSS at 11:35 GMT. The impacts did not produce the expected spectacular impact plume as expected. However later data reduction did show significant amounts of water.

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