Tuesday, June 23, 2009

LCROSS Lunar Swingby Streaming Video (Launch +5 days)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
LCROSS lunar swingby video stream coverage will begin approximately 5:10 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. First video data from the LCROSS spacecraft will come in at 5:20 a.m.

Swingby images


After its successful launch, LCROSS is now on its way to the moon. Approximately five days after launch, the spacecraft will perform a lunar swingby to enter into an elongated polar Earth orbit to position LCROSS for impact on the lunar south pole (see mission overview video). Shortly after periselene, the time of closest approach to the lunar surface, the LCROSS science payload will be switched on for the duration of one hour for calibration of its cameras and spectrometers.

Lunar swingby coverage animation

Below video shows a sped up animation of the entire 1-hour swingby coverage. The LCROSS spacecraft and its spent second stage Centaur rocket will make multiple maneuvers to pinpoint its instruments to the moon. The large yellow frame partially hidden behind the moon represents the Field of View of the visible light camera whereas the narrow yellow beam represents the Field of View of the spectrometers. During the first 30 minutes of the coverage, the spacecraft will stare at three targets on the lunar surface for 5 minutes each, with short slews in between. The spacecraft will be closer to the moon at the beginning than at the end of that half hour. During the latter 30 minutes, the spacecraft will do limb crossings of the moon. The first half hour will be most interesting for the camera view. The latter 30 minutes will only show very intermittent snapshots. The real-time, telemetry-based animation will remain up-to-date, although things do move slowly.

Above video shows a sped up animation of the entire 1-hour swingby coverage.

Credit: NASA

Graphic visualizations of the early part of the LCROSS orbit leading up to lunar swingby at Launch +5 days. The blue line represents the Earth's orbit around the sun. The white circle is the moon's orbit around the Earth. The yellow line is the orbit of the LCROSS spacecraft. The intersection of the yellow line with the moon's orbit represents the Launch +5 days lunar swingby. Credit: NASA

Streaming Video Coverage of the Lunar Swingby

The LCROSS instrumentation will send back data to Earth for approximately one hour. The first 30 minutes will contain a view of the lunar surface from an altitude of approximately 9,000 km. The video feed is set to display one frame per second. During the latter 30 minutes, the spacecraft will perform multiple scans of the moon's horizon to calibrate its sensors. During this latter half hour, the video image will update only occasionally. The 3D visualization stream will show the spacecraft position and attitude throughout the swingby.

Camera Feeds

The live streaming coverage of the lunar swingby will consist of two separate video streams:
  1. Live video feed from the spacecraft's visible light camera at one frame per second.
  2. Real-time, telemetry-based animation of the lunar swingby.


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