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NASA has identified the spot where it will search for water on the moon

Published by Matt on Tue Sep 8, 2009 5:07 pm via: source
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MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – NASA has identified the spot where it will search for water on the moon. Reporters are invited to attend the announcement of the target location where the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its spent Centaur rocket will hit in October.

The briefing will take place at 10 a.m. PDT, Friday, Sept. 11, in the main auditorium, Building N201, of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s Web site.

An artist's concept of LCROSS approaching the Moon. Credit:NASA

An artist's concept of LCROSS approaching the Moon. Credit:NASA

The selected crater is an optimal target for evaluating if water ice exists at the lunar south pole. Briefing participants are Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project manager, Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS principal investigator, and Jennifer Heldmann, lead for the LCROSS observation campaign.

Andrews will provide an update about the health of the spacecraft and mission activities. Colaprete will announce the target crater and explain the criteria and selection process. Heldmann will discuss the LCROSS observation campaign in which an international cadre of professional and amateur astronomers will view the impacts at 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 9.

LCROSS Emergency Status Lifted

At 5 p.m. (PDT) on Sept. 3, the LCROSS Project took the LCROSS spacecraft off of Emergency status. For the past two weeks, under close, continuous monitoring from the LCROSS mission operations team, the spacecraft has not exhibited any repeat of the anomalous behavior which had caused the spacecraft to consume large amounts of fuel while out of view. All spacecraft systems are operating in a nominal state.

“I am very proud and impressed by this LCROSS team,” said Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project manager. “From the moment we discovered the spacecraft needed help, this team has tirelessly worked mitigations to assure we are able to finish the mission”

The LCROSS team closely studied the cause of the intermittent Inertial Reference Unit (IRU) data fault and have put additional controls in place to assure a similar situation does not occur again. The team has also retuned the spacecraft control system to optimize fuel efficiency. Nominal fuel efficiency has been improved by a factor of three, while contingency fuel efficiency has been improved by a factor of 100.

“We have adopted a new miserly approach to the rest of the mission and we anticipate full mission success,” Andrews added,

The spacecraft recently conducted a planned pitch-flip maneuver to maintain good antenna alignment with the Earth, assuring the highest communications rates possible, as the spacecraft entered into it third and final orbit of the Earth before lunar impact.

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