LCROSS Update: Vehicle Used Up 140 Kilos of Fuel

Technicians completed connections between the LRO and LCROSS spacecraft and the Atlas V rocket at Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
Technicians completed connections between the LRO and LCROSS spacecraft and the Atlas V rocket at Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Managers mull options after moon mission malfunction
Spaceflight Now

Officials are hurriedly looking for ways to save fuel on NASA’s $79 million lunar impactor mission after a crisis Saturday caused the spacecraft to burn more than half of its remaining propellant.

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite used about 140 kilograms, or 309 pounds, of maneuvering fuel to maintain the probe’s orientation in space Saturday, according to Dan Andrews, the mission’s project manager at Ames Research Center.

LCROSS is now perilously close to its built-in propellant margins, and Andrews said the team will probably have to cancel some activities that are not crucial to the mission.

“Our estimates now are if we pretty much baseline the mission, meaning just accomplish the things that we have to (do) to get the job done with full mission success, we’re still in the black on propellant, but not by a lot,” Andrews told Spaceflight Now late Tuesday.

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