LOADING...
Text Size
LADEE Project Manager Update: LADEE Journeys to its Launch Facility
July 11, 2013

[image-36]

[image-51]

[image-80]

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Observatory has successfully made the cross-country trip from NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field Calif., to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops, Va. LADEE successfully completed all of its environmental tests, as well as the follow-on performance tests to ensure that nothing was damaged during the testing.

After being cleared for shipment to the launch site in Virginia technicians at Ames placed LADEE in a specially-designed shipping container, which insulated the spacecraft from temperature, moisture, and bumps in the road. LADEE journeyed from California to Virginia in a special transport truck that provided a continuous flow of conditioned nitrogen gas to the transport container, supplied by an environmental control unit (ECU) aboard the truck. It took five days to transport LADEE, using two 36-hour driving shifts with an overnight rest stop in between. Traveling ahead of the transport truck was a lead vehicle that scouted road conditions. Engineers followed the transport truck in a safety van so they could monitor LADEE’s environment inside the transport vehicle using a radio telemetry link from the shipping container and ECU.

After safely arriving at Wallops, technicians removed LADEE from the shipping container and placed it in a clean room, where it will stay until ready to roll out to the launch pad. LADEE was tested to make sure nothing was damaged during the transport, and then engineers conducted a final radio communications compatibility test similar to the one it went through after thermal-vacuum testing in April. To perform this communications test, engineers brought the same equipment used in previous tests to Wallops and connected it to the spacecraft to exercise the communications modes that will be used during the mission.

LADEE is going through final preparation and close-out in advance of fueling and being encapsulated by Orbital Sciences Corp., in the fairing of the U.S. Air Force's Minotaur V launch vehicle. One important preparation about to begin is spin-balancing LADEE. During this procedure, the spacecraft is mounted to a spin table and rotated at a high-speed to make sure it is perfectly balanced for launch. The observatory will be spin-balanced dry, then fueled, and then spun again after fueling. At that point the LADEE Observatory will be ready to be encapsulated in the launch vehicle fairing and rolled out to Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s launch pad to be mated to the launch vehicle stack.

Butler Hine
LADEE Project Manager
NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Media contact: Rachel Hoover, 650-604-4789

The LADEE spacecraft awaits spin balance testing, conducted to ensure stability during flight, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia July 10.
The LADEE spacecraft awaits spin balance testing, conducted to ensure stability during flight, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia July 10.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Patrick Black
Image Token: 
[image-36]
Engineers from NASA's Ames Research Center prepare to conduct spin balance testing, conducted to ensure stability during flight, on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer LADEE spacecraft at Wallops Flight Facility, Va., July 10.
Engineers from Ames Research Center prepare to conduct spin balance testing, conducted to ensure stability during flight, on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft at Wallops Flight Facility, Va., July 10.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Patrick Black
Image Token: 
[image-51]
The LADEE spacecraft awaits spin balance testing, conducted to ensure stability during flight, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia July 10.
The LADEE spacecraft awaits spin balance testing, conducted to ensure stability during flight, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia July 10.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Patrick Black
Image Token: 
[image-80]
Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: Rachel Hoover