Space

December 19, 2012

Lockheed Martin, NASA de-orbit twin Grail spacecraft into Moon

NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory mission came to an end today as planned when the Lockheed Martin and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory flight operations team commanded the two spacecraft to de-orbit and impact the surface of the moon.

Lockheed Martin built the twin robotic spacecraft and conducted flight operations for NASA’s JPL since their launch on Sept. 10, 2011.

The first of the orbiters, Ebb, impacted a predetermined mountain near the lunar north pole at 3:28 p.m., MST, with its twin, Flow, hitting nearby 30 seconds later. Both were traveling at 3,760 mph.

Following a successful primary and secondary science mission of mapping the gravity of the moon, the washing machine-sized spacecraft were nearly out of fuel. JPL and Lockheed Martin worked together to send both spacecraft to the surface in a controlled manner at a known location.

“During this extended science campaign, the orbits were reduced to astonishing low altitudes. In some instances, the spacecraft flew less than 1.25 miles above the lunar topography,” said Stu Spath, GRAIL program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “These low trajectories have provided increased science visibility into the moon’s impact craters and other crustal features. Today marks a bittersweet end to a great mission.”

The GRAIL primary mission yielded the highest-resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. Future gravity field models developed from data collected during the extended mission will be of even higher resolution. The map will provide a better understanding of how the moon, Earth and other terrestrial planets in the solar system formed and evolved.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, is home to the mission’s principal investigator, Dr. Maria Zuber. The GRAIL mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines May 27, 2015

News: U.S. Air Force certifies SpaceX for military launches - SpaceX has been certified for military space launch, the U.S. Air Force announced May 26. The long-awaited announcement is a game changer, with SpaceX becoming only the second provider cleared by the service to launch national security payloads into orbit.   Business: Northrop Grumman CEO issues...
 
 

New’s Briefs May 27, 2015

U.S. military begins search flights for stranded Rohingya The United States has begun military surveillance flights to help locate stranded Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people in Southeast Asian seas. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said May 26 that U.S. Navy P8 aircraft flew over the weekend with Malaysian support. Rathke said the U.S. has offered...
 
 
nasa-commercial-crew

Commercial Crew milestones met; partners on track for 2017 missions

NASA has taken another step toward returning America’s ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017. The Commercial Crew Program ordered its first crew rotation mission fro...
 

 
af-spacex

Air Force certifies SpaceX for national security space missions

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s Falco...
 
 

Northrop Grumman passes key design review for B-2 weapons management upgrade

Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Air Force that its plans to upgrade key weapons management software for the B-2 stealth bomber are on track and ready to proceed to the next level of development. The company successfully completed the critical design review of the service’s Flexible Strike Phase 1 program on Feb...
 
 
boeing-space

Boeing awarded first-ever commercial human spaceflight mission

NASA issued a task order as part of Boeing’s $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract recently to include the company’s first-ever service flight to the International Space Station. The award ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>