Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

LRO Launch Preparations

LRO in final stages of preparation at the Astrotech facility (May 9, 2009).

Final launch preparations for LRO are now underway. Last Saturday the spacecraft underwent final adjustments for mounting on top of LCROSS. Both spacecraft will launch into space on the same Atlas rocket. LRO's sleek GBK (Germanium Black Kapton) insulation blankets protect it from the harsh thermal environment found in lunar orbit while also minimizing reflected light into the instruments.

As LRO and LCROSS were being prepped, the upper stage Centaur was hoisted into place on top of the Atlas rocket at the Pad 41 Vertical Integration Facility.





Centaur upper stage being stacked on LRO Atlas rocket.


On May 15, LCROSS and LRO were encapsulated in the Atlas faring.  Next, both will be transported to the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) near the launch pad and then lifted to the top of the fully-stacked Atlas/Centaur rocket. 


[Images courtesy Arlin Bartels, GSFC]


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