LCROSS Project Site

Artist concept of LCROSS

Learn more about LCROSS' technology and methods for water detection at the LCROSS Project site.

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LRO Mission Site

Artist concept of LRO

Learn more about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from the mission Web site maintained by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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LCROSS Launch Information

    Mission: Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS)
    Launch Vehicle: Atlas V
    Launch Pad: Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
    Launch Date: June 18, 2009
    Launch Time: 5:32 p.m. EDT

    LRO and LCROSS launch aboard an Atlas V rocket Image above: The Atlas V rocket with LRO and LCROSS aboard launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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    NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, launched aboard an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:32 p.m. EDT, June 18, 2009.

    The LRO and LCROSS spacecraft were tucked inside the payload fairing at the top of the rocket to protect them from atmospheric heating as the rocket climbed through the atmosphere toward space. The fairing separated as planned and LRO pushed away from LCROSS and the Centaur stage on its way to going into orbit around the moon.

    The LCROSS probe remained attached to the Centaur and will steer the empty rocket stage for about four months as mission controllers line up LCROSS and Centaur to collide with the moon in an effort to determine conclusively whether water exists on the lunar surface.

    LCROSS is equipped with sensors to evaluate the plume from the Centaur stage when it hits the moon. Then LCROSS will fly through the plume before crashing into the lunar surface to kick up a second plume.

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