LRO's Project Site

Artist concept of LRO

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

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Artist concept of LCROSS

The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), managed by NASA's Ames Research Center in California, was launched with LRO on June 18, 2009. LCROSS searched for water ice in a permanently shadowed crater near one of the moon's poles. Visit the website below for more information about LCROSS and the crater impact.

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LRO Launch Information

    Mission: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
    Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V
    Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
    Launch Pad: Launch Complex 41
    Launch Date: June 18, 2009
    Launch Time: 5:32 p.m. EDT

    NASA Returns to the Moon!
    LRO/LCROSS atop the Atlas V/Centaur lift off Image above: The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite are bound for the moon after a flawless liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard an Atlas V rocket. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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    At 5:32 p.m. EDT, June 18, 2009, an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket roared off the launch pad at Launch Complex 41 to begin the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite missions to the moon.

    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 the LRO pushed away from LCROSS and the Centaur stage on its way to going into orbit around the moon.

    LRO is scheduled for a one-year exploration mission at a polar orbit of about 31 miles, or 50 kilometers, the closest any spacecraft has orbited the moon. Its primary objective is to conduct investigations to enable a human return to the moon.

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