Text Size
LADEE Project Manager Update: Instrument Checkout Complete, Cruising to the Moon
September 25, 2013


NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Observatory continues the phase of the mission where it is cruising on its way to the moon. LADEE currently is in its third and final elliptic orbit around Earth – performing what we call phasing loops. After the final perigee pass around Earth on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, LADEE will travel to the point at which it will be captured around the moon using an initial Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI-1) burn of the onboard main engine. After that, LADEE will be in lunar orbit.

The major activities accomplished since the first perigree maneuver (PM-1) Sept. 13, 2013, involved instrument checkouts with their covers closed. These tests ensure that the instruments are operational, and survived the stresses of launch. All three science instruments, as well as the laser communication experiment, successfully completed their tests and look healthy.

After the instruments were checked out, it was time for LADEE to perform the second perigee maneuver (PM-2), designed to raise its orbital altitude to match where the moon will be when it arrives. This maneuver was completed very early in the morning Saturday, Sept. 21. The tracking data after the PM-2 shows that the burn was very accurate. This means that the final perigee maneuver (PM-3), scheduled for Oct. 1, may be a very small adjustment, if needed at all. After the final perigee burn, then the spacecraft will only will make small course corrections prior to the lunar orbit insertion on Sunday, Oct. 6.

Butler Hine

LADEE Project Manager

NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

LADEE Approaches Lunar Orbit Artist's Concept
This is an artist's depiction of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) observatory as it approaches lunar orbit.
Image Credit: 
NASA Ames/Dana Berry
Image Token: 
Image Token: 
Page Last Updated: September 25th, 2013
Page Editor: Rachel Hoover