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GRAIL: New DISCOVERY mission to the moon
Holder of the Tw...
post Dec 11 2007, 10:02 PM
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According to Space.com, the final selection has been made for the next DISCOVERY mission.

It will be the GRAIL lunar gravity mapping mission.

Space.com article

Edit: Just noticed that Norm Hartnett posted an official link earlier on the KAGUYA topic:

NASA
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Mariner9
post Dec 12 2007, 02:12 AM
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I was pleasently surprised by the September 2011 launch date. I had been under the impression that Discovery 12 was expected to launch in the 2012 time frame (possibly even 2013). I am unable to download the 2006 AO for some reason, so I can't go back and re-read the fine print.

One of the reasons I was glad to see the launch date is that Discovery and New Frontiers seems to keep moving out later and later. Juno was originally scheduled for 2010, but got pushed into 2011 due to budget problems (the probe wasn't over budget, NASA was just a little short on funds). I had visions of Discovery 12 being pushed out to the latest date possible.

Let's all cross our fingers and hope that the next Discovery AO really does come out in early 2008 as promised, and we don't end up with another 5-6 year gap between selections.
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mchan
post Dec 12 2007, 06:26 AM
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Recalling what happened to Discovery 11, it's good that Discovery 12 has completed selection.

It will be interesting to see how much is budgeted for launch as it appears that it will be too expensive to keep Delta II for 2011. As pointed out in another thread, Landsat DCM moved from a Delta II to an Atlas V 401 for that very reason. Landsat DCM is scheduled for July 2011 and its launch was contracted a few months ago. For the same lead time, the GRAIL launch would have to be contracted soon. Given that Falcon 1 has not proved itself, it seems likely that GRAIL will use an EELV. GRAIL mass was not mentioned in the release and articles, but I am just thinking of the LCROSS addition when LRO moved to an Atlas V and whether there is another opportunity like that here.
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mps
post Dec 12 2007, 07:19 AM
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QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Dec 12 2007, 04:12 AM) *
I was pleasently surprised by the September 2011 launch date. I had been under the impression that Discovery 12 was expected to launch in the 2012 time frame (possibly even 2013). I am unable to download the 2006 AO for some reason, so I can't go back and re-read the fine print.


Discovery 12 was scheduled to launch NO LATER THAN October 2013. Nothing wrong with earlier, I guess smile.gif

It would be interesting to know, what is the launch mass of both spacecraft.
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monitorlizard
post Dec 12 2007, 05:48 PM
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GRAIL is supposed to support the return of humans to the moon. I couldn't figure out this statement at first, but then I thought maybe a very high fidelity gravity map would help the Orion spacecraft in lunar orbit conserve its fuel during those longer surface-stay missions.

Or could it be of sufficently high resolution to locate subsurface volatile depoits or other lunar resources?

(BTW, should GRAIL have its own thread?)
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Holder of the Tw...
post Jan 9 2008, 12:25 AM
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Yes, I believe GRAIL needs its own thread.

On to business. Noticed this article a few days back. Thought I'd give someone else a chance to post it first. But here it is.

Lockheed Martin
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tedstryk
post Jan 9 2008, 11:48 AM
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A major issue is that far side gravity has always been filled in with interpolation from near side data and the regions of the far side that past spacecraft passed over before occultation. Since a spacecraft can't be tracked from earth over much of the far side, there has been a big hole in most coverage. This is one of those missions that, while not flashy, will do some much needed science, though it will also have cameras for PR (kind of reminds me of Juno in that regard).


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Holder of the Tw...
post Apr 11 2008, 12:01 AM
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Looks like GRAIL is going to have some company on its ride to the moon.

NASA Lunar Dust Probe
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mps
post Apr 11 2008, 05:52 AM
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It was actually expected. We already knew that

A. GRAIL will be launched in 2011

B. LADEE will be launched in 2011

C. LADEE will cost only ~ $100M


EDIT: "The LADEE orbiter is expected to ride in the back seat of an unmanned Delta 2 rocket behind NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)"
A Delta II launch in 2011? This IS a surprise to me.
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edstrick
post Apr 11 2008, 08:27 AM
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The press release and all other materials I've seen so far on LADEE has a conspicuous utter lack of information on the instrumentation and measurements, and only the most vaguely worded phrases on scientific objectives.

PIO incompetence at it's most glaring, or deliberate obfuscation? I'm normally utterly un-paranoid, but this just irritates me.
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mps
post Apr 11 2008, 08:48 AM
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So far they talk about "spectrometer for atmosphere studies and a dust detector aimed at the moon's gritty regolith." I think that LADEE is fairly new project and that specifics and other possible science instruments just aren't defined yet.
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mps
post Sep 9 2008, 12:59 PM
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For the record, some launch info from NSF.com and LADEE's Twitter: GRAIL and LADEE are going to be launched on separate launch vehicles. LADEE will probably use the yet-to-be-developed Minotaur V launch vehicle.
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Holder of the Tw...
post Nov 12 2008, 05:27 PM
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GRAIL has its own website now, with a detailed mission description.

GRAIL homepage
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mps
post Dec 30 2008, 09:45 AM
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QUOTE (edstrick @ Apr 11 2008, 10:27 AM) *
The press release and all other materials I've seen so far on LADEE has a conspicuous utter lack of information on the instrumentation and measurements, and only the most vaguely worded phrases on scientific objectives.

It seems there still isn't a official home page for LADEE yet, but I've found the most detailed mission description so far: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=LADEE
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Holder of the Tw...
post May 20 2011, 04:24 AM
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Updates:
Denver Post article. (URL deleted)
Space.com article.

Updates for 7 Sep 2011:
Space Daily
Space.com
NASA press kit
Spaceflight Now mission status page for GRAIL
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