Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

NASA gives extension to LADEE lunar mission

See also

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) will be orbiting the moon for longer than originally planned. The space agency announced on Friday that the spacecraft's mission has been granted a 28-day extension. LADEE is expected to impact the lunar surface after completing its mission on or about April 14, 2014. The extended mission provides the opportunity to collect an extra lunar cycle of data at a very low altitude above the lunar surface.

"The launch vehicle performance and orbit capture burns using LADEE's on-board engines were extremely accurate, so the spacecraft had significant propellant remaining to enable extra science," said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif."This extension represents a tremendous increase in the amount of science data returned from the mission."

LADEE launched from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia on Sept. 6, 2013. It reached lunar orbit on Oct.6, 2013. LADEE then began to test its scientific instruments and conducted a laser communications experiment. The spacecraft began collecting scientific data on Nov. 10 and on Nov. 20 it entered it's science orbit around the moon's equator at an altitude of eight to 37 miles above the surface. LADEE is studying the properties of the extremely thin lunar atmosphere and lunar dust.

"The science team has already established a baseline of data for the tenuous lunar atmosphere, or exosphere, and dust impacts," said Rick Elphic LADEE project scientist at Ames. "One cool thing about this extension is that we plan to fly LADEE at only a few kilometers above the lunar surface. This will be much lower than we’ve been before."

The LADEE spacecraft was designed, built and tested at NASA Ames Research Center. The mission's day to day operations are also controlled at Ames. LADEE was built using a Modular Spacecraft Bus architecture which can be adapted for a variety of different orbital or lander missions. The spacecraft is constructed from a lightweight carbon composite and has an unfueled weight of 547.2 pounds.

Advertisement

News

  • Jar-Jar is more popular than Congress
    A new poll shows Jar-Jar Binks is more popular than Congress
    Video
    Video
  • Missing girl found
    After 9 months of being missing, Abigail Hernandez is back with her family
    US News
  • Tree destroyed by beetles
    A tree meant to honor Beatle George Harrison has been destroyed by beetles
    Top News
  • Mystery flags on bridge
    Mysterious white flags have replaced the American ones on the Brooklyn Bridge
    New York
  • Weird Al album debut
    Weird Al's new album has officially debuted at no. 1
    Music
  • Broncos owner resigns
    Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has resigned due to Alzheimer's
    Sports

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/O4KxesvbiMU?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518318477&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zGNryrsT7OI?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>