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Lunar Scout Two spacecraft gravity experimentMeasurement of the gravity field of the Moon has a high science priority because of its implications for the internal structure and thermal history of the Moon, and it has a high priority for future exploration activities because of the influence of lunar gravity on spacecraft navigation and orbit maintenance. The current state of knowledge in the lunar gravity field (and the uncertainty in the knowledge) is based primarily on data accumulated from the Lunar Orbiter and Apollo programs. Data are sparse and emphasize the equatorial band (+/- 30 deg) on the near side of the Moon. There are no tracking data on the far side and only the Lunar Orbiter 5 provides a small amount of high inclination data. A host of gravity models developed from different combinations of tracking data have large discrepancies in their predictions of spacecraft motion and orbit lifetimes. There are also large disagreements in the Mercator projections of the gravity acceleration from each model, especially on the far side, where the contours tend to have no obvious relationship with the local topography. The science and engineering requirements for global gravity field mapping will be satisfied with continuous radio metric tracking of Lunar Scout 1 in a low polar orbit using the Deep Space Network and Lunar Scout 2 in a high elliptical orbit. The gravity field of the Moon will be mapped during the Scout Program using a two spacecraft concept. In the two spacecraft concept, one spacecraft is placed in a high altitude eccentric orbit while the second spacecraft is in a low altitude polar orbit. The gravity experiment requires a radio frequency that will permit two-way Doppler tracking between the spacecraft and the Deep Space Network (DSN). Both spacecraft carry NASA standard transponder systems for data transmission to Earth as well as for tracking and orbit determination. Data sufficient to produce a gravity field map could be acquired within one month with this system.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cheng, Andrew F. (Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle19940007055Analytic PrimarySixth Annual Workshop on Space Operations Applications and Research (SOAR 1992), volume 219940007543Analytic PrimaryTwenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F