SA space agency reports on its role in latest US Moon probe mission
May 1, 2014 Editor 0
The Space Operations division of the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) on Friday released details of its involvement in the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (Ladee, pronounced Laddie) mission, which has been successfully concluded. The Ladee mission was launched in September 2013, started orbiting the Moon at an altitude of 250 km on October 6 and concluded with the space probe making a planned impact on the lunar surface on April 17.
“We have been supporting this mission since the date of launch,” reported Sansa Space Operations International Business Manager Tiaan Strydom. “Our team played an important role in providing various TT&C [telemetry, tracking and control] support services to the probe since launch in September 2013, with this coming to an end as the final manoeuvres were executed together with other ground stations, tasking the probe to deorbit.”
The deorbiting proceedure put Ladee on a course to crash into the surface of the far side of the Moon. According to Nasa, the probe would have been travelling at 3 600 mph (about 5 380 km/h) when it impacted. The US agency hopes, in due course, to image the crash site from another of its space probes, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was launched in June 2009.
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