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Unmanned Spaceflight.com > Earth & Moon > Lunar Exploration
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Holder of the Two Leashes
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
Mariner9
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.
mchan
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.
mps
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.
monitorlizard
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?)
Holder of the Two Leashes
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
tedstryk
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).
Holder of the Two Leashes
Looks like GRAIL is going to have some company on its ride to the moon.

NASA Lunar Dust Probe
mps
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.
edstrick
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.
mps
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.
mps
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.
Holder of the Two Leashes
GRAIL has its own website now, with a detailed mission description.

GRAIL homepage
mps
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
Holder of the Two Leashes
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
Holder of the Two Leashes
The Delta rocket has had a completely successful launch from Florida, the two GRAIL spacecraft have deployed, they are communicating with earth, and their solar panels have deployed. Their propusion systems remain to be tested, but everything is looking good.

NASA has announced a kid contest to give names to each spacecraft.
Lewis007
HD videos of the launch, launch replays, and spacecraft separation can be seen using the following three links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1elSL-w1B8g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD9_AJD3u8I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKxiuk0MhA4
djellison
I was in Florida for the launch ( demoing Eyes on the Solar System for the TweetUp and for the KSC Visitors Center ) and saw it go early today :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/doug_ellison/...57627515484719/

VERY glad to have seen a Delta II launch - it's been the backbone of everything that excited me in exploration for 15 years!
ngunn
QUOTE (Holder of the Two Leashes @ Sep 10 2011, 06:13 PM) *
NASA has announced a kid contest to give names to each spacecraft.


Lance and Percy?
sgendreau
Beast and Beauty?
elakdawalla
Let's keep the name suggestions out of this thread, OK? It's not like anybody is listening to them here, and it'll just add a lot of noise to the forum. If you must discuss them, go to the chit-chat section. But an even better thing to do with your time would be to figure out how you could bring this contest to some kids who might not otherwise be given the opportunity! Maybe you can't enter or win, but maybe some kid that you mentor can.
nprev
GRAIL-A LOI burn in progress; follow it at Eyes On The Solar System.
lyford
Both A and B have successfully completed LOI:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/grail/ne...il20120101.html

Happy New Year!
Phil Stooke
Ebb and Flow! Not bad...

My Dad went to Fulneck school near Leeds, UK, in the 1920s. He said there were two members of staff, a married couple I believe, called Ebenezer and Florence. Naturally the kids called them Eb and Flo. Not quite the same but close enough to slip in a wee anecdote! We now resume our scheduled programming.

Phil

Sunspot
I would have gone for Isaac & Newton biggrin.gif
Phil Stooke
Ebb and Flow are busy adjusting their orbits... here's a timeline with some useful details, but not taking into account the possible extended mission.

Phil

http://www.spaceflight101.com/grail-missio...n-timeline.html
ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jan 31 2012, 12:58 PM) *
Ebb and Flow are busy adjusting their orbits...

...and it's rude for us to stare until they are both presentable.
Phil Stooke
... and the first video from Moonkam:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-031

This link has a still plus a link to the video)

Phil


Holder of the Two Leashes
The science phase of the mission is now underway.

GRAIL mission update

Go Ebb! Go Flow!
Holder of the Two Leashes
The mission has been extended to December, with the expecation now that the eclipse will be survivable.

Spaceflight Now article
Phil Stooke
... and lots of nice MoonKAM pics here:

http://images.moonkam.ucsd.edu/main.php



Phil

ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (Holder of the Two Leashes @ Mar 22 2012, 12:40 PM) *
The mission has been extended to December, with the expecation now that the eclipse will be survivable.

Spaceflight Now article


...and we have a new spaceflight unit of measure

QUOTE
The GRAIL satellites, each about the size of a washing machine....
djellison
Oh no, I distinctly remember the Deep Impact impact being washing machine sized.

Phil Stooke
Yeah, but these are Maytags!

Phil

Astro0
These kids have picked some really nice shots for MoonKam.
Quick animation of a few frames smile.gif

Click to view attachment
Doug M.
So, decommissioning GRAIL. The mission will end in December 2012. Spaceflight 101 describes it as follows:

"When the science phase has ended, the final mission phase will begin. During a 5- to 7-day period, a Ka-Band calibration is made and GRAIL continue to provide science results as sunlight and power allows. Early in December, 2012, the GRAIL Mission ends. About 20 days after the end of this phase, the GRAIL Orbiters will impact the lunar surface because their orbits will not have been maintained. No special area has been targeted for impact."

Earlier this year, Spaceflight Now said: "Mission planners are formulating ideas for the impact scenario, evaluating the possibility of aiming the crashes so they are within the field-of-view of instruments on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter."

So, we're getting pretty close now -- December 2012 is just three months away. Has anyone heard anything about the decommissioning? Have impact sites been chosen?


Doug M.
Phil Stooke
MoonKAM on GRAIL has taken over 100000 images now (I'm not sure if it is currently collecting images). There is a handy interface to them here:

https://moonkam.ucsd.edu/image_gallery/locations

A zoomable map interface of the now almost ubiquitous design (give the designer of that interface a nobel prize or something) - you can search by various methods, then click on an icon and link to the image itself.


(there's also a vast gallery but that is hard to find things in)

Phil
djellison
So we are extending the GRAIL/MoonKAM Eyes on the Solar System interface this coming week to include the extension, but even we don't have details in the final decommissioning. There's a big +/- in there, and no detail on the finality of it all yet.
0101Morpheus
Any idea when the gravity map will be published? I can not seem to find any information on it. Is there one currently being made or is it not public yet?

The entire mission seems pretty uneventful so far. From what I remember there was a some excitement because GRAIL would be able to test the Two Moon hypothesis. What happened? Is it still a valid theory?

Even if the gravity map isn't complete yet, if part of it seemed to suggest the above was correct I would expect at least some kind of announcement from NASA. Is everyone being hush, hush, instead?

It's my first post so be gentle smile.gif
Phil Stooke
The mission is still in progress, currently acquiring higher resolution data, and it takes a lot of processing and analysis. The map is not released because it's not finished, and the interpretations can't be done properly until it is finished. It's not like an imaging mission where results are available on day 1. We know the mission will end in December, and I would expect very little serious detail to be published until (a) LPSC in March next year, or (cool.gif the publication of a paper in Science or Nature, whichever comes first. So - be patient just a bit longer!

Phil

elakdawalla
Actually, at DPS they said that there was an article in preparation (I assume in Science) based on the prime mission data, and that they hoped but couldn't be certain that it'd be published around the time of AGU, which is in a month. But it sounds like the schedule's a bit tight for that. Hopefully before the end of the calendar year.
Phil Stooke
We are coming up to the end of GRAIL's extended mission. Has anyone heard anything about the final impact plans? Originally the impacts were to be untargeted, but later there were suggestions of impacts within view of LRO, or one impact in view of the other GRAIL's MoonKAM.

Phil

elakdawalla
FWIW, I haven't heard a thing. That mission has pretty successfully flown under the media radar since it launched. I think some missions wish they had more attention, but I think GRAIL prefers operating in "stealth mode." Their science results will improve massively the more time they have to work with more data, so the longer nobody pays attention to them, the better they'll look when they do create a stir.

I wonder how far in advance they have to know where they're going to crash in order to attempt LRO observations of the impact? (I don't even know if LRO observations will be possible.)
Phil Stooke
This is from spaceflight101, a very useful site:

http://www.spaceflight101.com/grail-mission-updates.html

"A total of three additional Mapping Cycles are planned. On December 3, 2012, the mission will come to an end. A short period of decommissioning will be performed before the two spacecraft impact the lunar surface. To further increase science data return, Teams are currently evaluating a targeted Mission Termination meaning that the GRAIL Orbiters will make a targeted Crash on a picked site on the Lunar Surface that is in sight of instruments on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. A decision on that will be made as the mission progresses and propellant is consumed to support the science phase of the mission."


So LRO observations were considered earlier in the year... but did it turn out to be feasible? And (or) will it happen?

We should know fairly soon, I guess.

Phil

elakdawalla
There's a press briefing at AGU on Wednesday next week. I won't be there in person, but Casey Dreier will be there representing the Planetary Society. I've asked him if he can ask this question. (I want to save my question for science smile.gif )
Phil Stooke
A wee update - MoonKAM was turned on for the extended mission and added some images to the gallery:

http://images.moonkam.ucsd.edu/v/mk12_10/

But now the camara has been affected by a solar flare - it can still be commanded but may not work, as I understand it. I don't know the date of the event yet.


https://moonkam.ucsd.edu/news/moonkam_mission_interrupted

Phil
nprev
Huh.

Please pardon my lack of memory here, but this is a straight-up off-the-shelf camera, isn't it (i.e., not rad-hardened)? If so, seems to have held up pretty well, esp. since we're just approaching the next solar max.
mcaplinger
QUOTE (nprev @ Dec 2 2012, 12:44 PM) *
this is a straight-up off-the-shelf camera, isn't it (i.e., not rad-hardened)?

It's not what I would call an "off-the-shelf" camera. http://eclipticenterprises.com/press_releases/928

As to not being "rad-hardened", it depends on what you mean by that. There have been several MSSS cameras (MRO MARCI and LROC WAC, for example) that aren't rad-hardened but can recover from radiation upsets.
nprev
Hmm. Okay, thanks, Mike.

Wonder which event took them out?
Phil Stooke
http://www.spaceflight101.com/grail-mission-updates.html


More news. It was over Thanksgiving. And the final fate of the spacecraft, targeted or not, is still not decided.

Phil

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