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  Spacecraft and Instruments

Scroll over photograph to locate LRO's instruments.
The LRO Spacecraft, and its  six instruments will circle the lunar poles. It will spend at least one year in low, polar orbit, with all the instruments working simultaneously to collect detailed information about the lunar environment.

  The LRO Spacecraft

The spacecraft was built by engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. It was then put through extensive testing. The orbiter was subjected to the extreme temperature cycles of the lunar environment as engineers conducted simulated flight operations. "We have cooked LRO, frozen it, shaken it, and blasted it with electromagnetic waves, and still it operates," said Dave Everett, LRO mission system engineer at Goddard. "We have performed more than 2,500 hours of powered testing since January."

LRO has been delivered to Kennedy Space Center in preperation for launch. The spacecraft will spend at least a year in a low, polar orbit approximately 30 miles above the lunar surface while the instruments work together to collect detailed information about the moon's environment.

  Laser Ranging Support

LRO Laser Ranging

The objective of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Laser Ranging (LR) system is to enable the spacecraft to achieve its precision orbit determination requirement. The LR will make one-way range measurements via laser pulse time-of-flight from Earth to LRO, and will determine the position of the spacecraft at a sub-meter level with respect to Earth and the center of mass of the Moon. Ranging will occur whenever LRO is visible in the line of sight from participating Earth ground tracking stations.

+ Go to the Laser Ranging Web Site

  Spacecraft Design

LRO Preliminary Design Concept LRO Spacecraft LRO spacecraft

  LRO Instruments

LRO has several instruments that will help NASA characterize the moon's surface. The powerful equipment will bring the moon into sharper focus and reveal new insights about the celestial body nearest Earth. The LRO payload, comprised of six instruments and one technology demonstration, will provide key data sets to enable a human return to the moon.

The primary goal of CRaTER is to characterize the global lunar radiation environment and its biological impacts.
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+ Go to CRaTER web site
DIVINER will be measuring lunar surface temperatures at scales that provide essential information for future surface operations and exploration.
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+ Go to Diviner web site
Reflected Lyman _ sky-glow and starlight produce sufficient signal for even a small UV instrument like LAMP to see in the Moon's permanently shadowed regions.
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+ Go to LAMP web site
LEND will provide measurements, create maps, detecting possible near-surface water ice deposits.
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+ Go to LEND web site
The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) investigation will provide a precise global lunar topographic model and geodetic grid that will serve as the foundation of this essential understanding.
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+ Go to LOLA web site
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) has been designed to address the measurement requirements of landing site certification and polar illumination.
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+ Go to LROC web site
Mini-RF Mini RF
The mini-RF is a technology demonstration of an advanced synthetic aperture radar capable of measurements. Mini-RF will locate potential water-ice.
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  Spacecraft Specs

  • One year primary mission in ~50 km polar orbit, possible extended mission in communication relay/south pole observing, low-maintenance orbit
  • LRO Total Mass ~ 1000 kg/400 W
  • 100 kg/100W payload capacity
  • 3-axis stabilized pointed platform (~ 60 arc-sec or better pointing)
  • Articulated solar arrays and Li-Ion battery
  • Spacecraft to provide thermal control services to payload elements if req'd
  • Ka-band high rate downlink ( 100-300 Mbps, 900 Gb/day), S-band up/down low rate
  • Centralized MOC operates mission and flows level 0 data to PI's, PI delivers high level data to PDS
  • Command & Data Handling : MIL-STD-1553, RS 422, & High Speed Serial Service, PowerPC Architecture, 200-400 Gb SSR, CCSDS
  • Mono or bi-prop propulsion (500-700 kg fuel)

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