Ready for LROC commissioning operations

The LROC Science Operations Center (SOC) team is ready for commissioning imaging to begin once instrument bakeout is complete!

The LROC SOC is located in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. From this facility, we command NAC and WAC observations, receive products from the LRO Mission Operations Center (MOC) at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), perform the intial scientific analysis of LROC results, and guide the processing of the received data into products compatible with NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS).


The LROC Operations Team getting ready for the start of LRO commissioning phase operations while monitoring instrument telemetry.


It is the job of the LROC Operations Team to plan LROC observations. Or, to put it another way, the LROC Operations Team performs the complicated planning necessary to translate LROC target requests generated by the Science Team into actual LROC observations based on a host of constraints, including solar illumination conditions and the LRO spacecraft ephemeris.  To perform this difficult task, we have assembled a dedicated and highly motivated team of professional geoscientists, engineers, geographers, and even a philosopher.

Extensive LRO mission rehearsals, simulations, and readiness tests occupied our team for several months prior to the launch of LRO to the Moon. Tests involved the interfaces between the LROC SOC and the LRO MOC, and over time the rehearsals grew in complexity.  Eventually, all aspects of LRO ground segment operations were exercised and the LROC team knew they were ready. With LRO in orbit around the Moon, the LROC Operations Team is spending this week monitoring our instruments aboard the spacecraft, testing our software, and analyzing the engineering data we collected earlier this week.  The engineering data has really helped us to prepare for the moment when LROC is activated to formally begin its commissioning phase test observations, which will hopefully begin on or about July 3rd if the current plan holds.

Screen shot of an LROC Mission Rehearsal targeting sequence from a simulation in January, 2009. The red boxes are regions of interest proposed by the LROC Science Team; the purple boxes are planned WAC activations, the thin horizontal grey lines are predicted LRO orbital groundtracks, and the small green rectangles are planned LROC NAC observations.


Published by Samuel Lawrence on 2 July 2009