Pentagon Satellite Problems Could Delay LRO Launch

  • Pentagon Satellite Problems Could Delay LRO Launch.The Huntsville (AL) Times (2/14, Spires) reported, “The launch of NASA’s next lunar probe could be delayed because of problems with a Pentagon communications satellite, according to a NASA manager.” The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s and LCROSS’ launch may slip by two weeks. A memo from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter program manager Craig Tooley “said his office had been ‘notified that problems with the (Air Force) spacecraft have made it impossible for (United Launch Alliance) to launch’ on April 24 and they are aiming for a May 7.” The “launch dates are critical to the dual mission because NASA scientists want the orbiter’s cameras and other sensors trained on the moon when the LCROSS hits,” Marshall Space Flight Center spokesperson Jennifer “Morcone said.” Boeing Spokesperson Lewis Brinson said the Wideband Global Satellite-2 is facing “minor issues.” Boeing is constructing the satellite.
  • Former Astronauts Simulating Lunar Landings At Ames. The San Jose (NM) Mercury News (2/16, Swift) reports, “At NASA Ames Research Center…a group of former astronauts, including several Apollo astronauts who flew the original Lunar Module in space, are helping design America’s next lunar lander. NASA engineers are using the world’s most advanced motion-based flight simulator at Ames to help create Altair.” The group is “painstakingly logging data” with the Vertical Motion Simulator in order to “determine everything from the amount of thrust the lander’s engine will have, to the design and function of the cockpit instruments.” The simulator is also “one of NASA’s main tools to train space shuttle pilots.”