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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Pushed Back a Month February 15, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Lunar Reconnaissance, NASA.
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NASA’s upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), originally scheduled for an April launch, has been pushed back a month until May.

A major mission and a big first foray of the Constellation program, the LRO is the latest in a long series of lunar orbiters to have come along in the past few years from various countries–including China’s Chang’e-1, Japan’s Kaguya, Europe’s SMART-1, and India’s Chandrayaan-1 (for a detailed look at the Chandrayaan-1’s scientific instruments, see my recurring feature on its payloads here). Many of these have made news, especially the Chandrayaan-1, which managed to make it as a headline story on Drudge Report.

These lunar orbiters send back important initial data, ranging from images and video to mapping (especially of all-important helium-3 content) and testing for water ice deep in craters. NASA should be pushing the LRO pretty hard as a great PR opportunity as the first mission of Constellation, and also considering  the Obama administration‘s strong space interest, we Americans should be hearing quite a bit about this LRO mission on the news over this spring and summer :) .

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