LCROSS Spacecraft
 
LCROSS spacecraft

Image above: Illustration of the LCROSS spacecraft with panels detached. Image credit: Courtesy of Northrop Grumman
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The Lunar Observation and Sensing Satellite is a fast-track, low-cost, companion mission to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) with the science objective to confirm the presence or absence of water in a permanently shadowed crater near the moon's poles. The spacecraft consists of six panels that hold the spacecraft's science payload, command and control systems, communications equipment, batteries and solar panels attached to the outside of an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter, or ESPA ring. The propulsion system is located inside the ring.

To meet the mission's strict schedule, mass and budgetary constraints, engineering teams form NASA Ames Research Center and Northrop Grumman had to think "outside-the-box." This thinking lead to an innovative use of the ESPA ring. Usually the ESPA ring is used as a platform to hold six small deployable satellites, for LCROSS it was to become the backbone of the satellite, a first for the ring. LCROSS takes advantage of commercially available components including the Tracking & Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) tank and thrusters. LCROSS also uses many of the command and control systems already flight verified for use on LRO to save time and money.

LCROSS spacecraft

Image above: Illustration of the LCROSS spacecraft with panels attached. Image credit: Courtesy of Northrop Grumman.
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› Spacecraft Technical Specification
› Mate Match Testing Images
› Thermal Vacuum Testing Images