Monday, June 22, 2009

LRO/LCROSS Launch Date Set

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite are set to lift off together aboard an Atlas V rocket on Thursday, June 18, at 5:12 p.m. EDT. Two additional launch opportunities are available at 5:22 p.m. and 5:32 p.m.

In preparation for liftoff, the Atlas V launch vehicle is scheduled to roll out to the pad Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Countdown milestones can be found on NASA's Launch Blog beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.

Atlas V Rolls to Launch Pad
In the left background is space shuttle Endeavour on pad 39A, on the right foreground is the Atlas V with LRO and LCROSS spacecrafts on top at their launch pad.
Mission Overview

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Spacecraft will fly to the moon atop the same Atlas V rocket, although they will use vastly different methods to study the lunar environment. LRO will go into orbit around the moon, turning its suite of instruments towards the moon for thorough studies. The spacecraft also will be looking for potential landing sites for astronauts.

LCROSS, on the other hand, will guide an empty upper stage on a collision course with a permanently shaded crater in an effort to kick up evidence of water at the moon's poles. LCROSS itself will also impact the lunar surface during its course of study.

Liftoff currently is scheduled for June 18 at 5:12 p.m. EDT. There are two more launch opportunities that day at 5:22 p.m. and 5:32 p.m.

Additional Resources
› LRO Fact Sheet
› LRO/LCROSS Press Kit
› LRO/LCROSS Launch Coverage Events
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