Lunar missions: the start of an ending for one, the start of a beginning for another
Posted By Emily Lakdawalla
2009/02/13 09:34 CST
JAXA reported today that "The relay satellite 'OKINA (RSTAR)' made an impact on the lunar surface on February 12, 2009 (JST), and the four-way Doppler measurement mission was successfully completed." Okina was just a tiny subsatellite deployed by Kaguya; but Kaguya will be following its baby to the ground later in the summer -- it's the beginning of the end of the mission. Through an amazing coincidence, today is also the day that four papers' worth of Kaguya results has been published for the first time, in the journal Science. I'll take a look at them later today.And Wednesday marked the first steps toward space for the next lunar mission, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The spacecraft was "canned" and loaded onto a truck for its journey from Goddard Spaceflight Center, in Maryland, to Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, where it'll be stacked with LCROSS onto their shared launch vehicle, undergo final prelaunch tests, and head for the Moon on April 24.