The LROC NACs are powered down as we complete the final bakeout!
After three days of imaging (July 3 - 5) the two Narrow Angle Cameras were powered down and the telescope heaters turned back up to 50 degrees Celsius to drive out any remaining moisture. This final bakeout will insure the best quality imaging for the rest of the LRO mission. From our current image data, we know that both NACs are very close to being in focus. The heaters will remain on until tomorrow afternoon to bring the NACs into final focus. For comparison, the LROC engineering team acquired collimated focus images after a lengthy bakeout in a special vacuum chamber last year in order to simulate the space environment. A final check was performed by taking each NAC outside immediately after the bakeout was complete and hand-scanning the sensor across the Moon.
All of the LROC cameras were built by the hardware development team at Malin Space Science Systems, which included Scott Brylow and Mike Ravine (management), Mike Caplinger (systems engineering and software), Jake Schaffner and Paul Otjens (electrical) and Tony Ghaemi (optics). Both the NAC telescopes and WAC lenses were developed by LightWorks Optics. With LRO finally in lunar orbit, the MSSS team continues to support the LROC checkout and calibration efforts as we analyze the first LROC images.
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