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Sunday, August 14, 2011

LADEE Milestone Passed for 2013 Launch from Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport


NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) has passed its most significant mission milestone to date, the Mission Critical Design Review, or MCDR. This means the LADEE observatory is cleared to go forward and complete the flight hardware fabrication necessary to meet all science and engineering requirements for its 2013 mission to explore the moon launched from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport aboard a  new Minotaur-V booster rocket.

LADEE will gather detailed information about conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. A thorough understanding of these influences will help researchers predict how future lunar exploration may shape the moon's environment and how the environment may affect future explorers. It also will help scientists understand other planetary bodies with exospheres, or very thin atmospheres, like the moon.

Improved lunar digital elevation model.

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