NASA's two lunar-bound spacecraft, vacuum-packed

May 20, 2011 By DC Agle
Technicians prepare to hoist one of the two Grail spacecraft upon completion of a thermal vacuum test at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility in Denver. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LMSS

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's two Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (Grail) spacecraft have completed all assembly and testing prior to shipment to Florida.

As seen in the photo, taken April 29, technicians installed lifting brackets prior to hoisting the 200-kilogram (440- pound) Grail-A spacecraft out of a vacuum chamber at , Denver. Along with its twin Grail-B, the Grail-A spacecraft underwent an 11-day-long test that simulated many of the flight activities they will perform during the mission, all while being exposed to the vacuum and extreme hot and cold that simulate space.

The Grail mission is scheduled for launch late this summer. The Grail-A and Grail-B spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits around Earth's moon for several months to measure its in unprecedented detail. The mission will also answer longstanding questions about the moon and provide scientists with a better understanding of how Earth and other in the solar system formed.

Explore further: MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

Related Stories

GRAIL Spacecraft Takes Shape

Jul 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Engineers have conducted a fuel tank check of one of NASA's GRAIL mission spacecraft, scheduled for launch in 2011.

Juno marches on

Mar 23, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Juno spacecraft has completed its thermal vacuum chamber testing. The two-week-long test, which concluded on March 13, 2011, is the longest the spacecraft will undergo prior to launch.

Recommended for you

MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

41 minutes ago

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

How to safely enjoy the October 23 partial solar eclipse

51 minutes ago

2014 – a year rich in eclipses. The Moon dutifully slid into Earth's shadow in April and October gifting us with two total lunars. Now it's the Sun's turn. This Thursday October 23 skywatchers across much ...

How to grip an asteroid

1 hour ago

For someone like Edward Fouad, a junior at Caltech who has always been interested in robotics and mechanical engineering, it was an ideal project: help develop robotic technology that could one day fly on ...

Image: Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

3 hours ago

It was 45 years ago when astronomer Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko, one of his researchers, unwittingly began a new chapter in the history of space exploration.

Extreme ultraviolet image of a significant solar flare

3 hours ago

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 19, 2014, peaking at 1:01 a.m. EDT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured this image of the event in extreme ultraviolet ...

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

22 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

User comments : 0