LADEE closer to exploration of lunar environment

Apr 10, 2012

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) has received its integrated propulsion system that will enable the spacecraft to reach the moon. Achieving this milestone means the LADEE observatory is one step closer to launching its 2013 mission to explore the lunar environment.

The LADEE , built by Space Systems/Loral, Palo Alto, Calif., features a commercially-proven technology. The propulsion system is a variant of the mission critical capabilities used for many years on geostationary satellites to provide television, radio, broadband internet, meteorology and other services.

The LADEE team now has most of the flight hardware components available, and has entered the spacecraft's integration phase. During this phase, the LADEE team will attach hardware components to the various parts of the spacecraft structure, starting with the top radiator panel. This panel contains most of the spacecraft's active electronic systems, except the propulsion system.

As each component is attached, it is tested to verify it was connected and works properly. So far, the team has attached a harness for the and a component to power up the spacecraft, and is preparing to attach the flight battery.

Strength testing of the modular common bus sections - the main super-structure of the spacecraft - built by Vanguard Space Technologies, San Diego, Calif., is about to begin. The bus will be fitted with models of all of the components, so that it can be tested to ensure it is strong enough to handle the rigors of . When all of the components of the radiator panel have been integrated and tested, then the panel will be attached to the main structure, along with the integrated propulsion system to complete the spacecraft.

While the spacecraft is being completed, the science teams will finish work on the LADEE instruments. After the team has a completed the and instruments, they all will come together and form the LADEE observatory.

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

More information: For more information about LADEE, visit: www.nasa.gov/ladee

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA to demonstrate communications via laser beam

Sep 23, 2011

It currently takes 90 minutes to transmit high-resolution images from Mars, but NASA would like to dramatically reduce that time to just minutes. A new optical communications system that NASA plans to demonstrate ...

Gas giant spacecraft all gassed up

Jul 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Juno spacecraft completed hydrazine fuel loading, oxidizer loading and final tank pressurizations this week, and now the complete propulsion system is ready for the trip to Jupiter. The ...

MAVEN mission primary structure complete

Sep 26, 2011

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission has reached a new milestone. Lockheed Martin has completed building the primary structure of the MAVEN spacecraft at its Space Systems Company ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.