GRAIL Spacecraft Takes Shape

Jul 29, 2010
Engineers conduct checks on one of NASA's GRAIL spacecraft in the Space Support Building at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver.

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

Confirming the size and fit of manufactured components is one of the steps required prior to welding the spacecraft's fuel tanks into the propulsion system's feed lines.

The image was taken on June 29, 2010, during the propulsion subsystem assembly and integration effort in the Space Support Building clean room at Space Systems in Denver.

The GRAIL mission will fly twin spacecraft (spacecraft "A" and "B") in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its in unprecedented detail. The mission will also answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon, and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other in the solar system formed.

Explore further: Experts: Mystery fireball was Russian satellite

More information: For more information about GRAIL, please visit: moon.mit.edu

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People from New Mexico to Montana saw the bright object break apart as it moved slowly northward across the night sky. Witnesses described it as three "rocks" with glowing red and orange streaks.

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