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Lunar Prospector Mission DesignThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected Lunar Prospector as one of the discovery missions to conduct solar system exploration science investigations. The mission is NASA's first lunar voyage to investigate key science objectives since Apollo and will be launched in September 1997. In keeping with discovery program requirements to reduce total mission cost and utilize new technology, Lunar Prospector's mission design and control will focus on the use of innovative and proven trajectory analysis programs. As part of this effort, the Ames Research Center and the Goddard Space Flight Center have become partners in the Lunar Prospector trajectory team to provide the trajectory analysis and orbit determination support. The mission design of Lunar Prospector is characterized by a direct minimum energy transfer trajectory to the moon with an injection into a circular 100 km altitude polar mapping orbit. The mission design will incorporate the optimization of the reference trajectory for a new launch vehicle. An extended mission includes a periselene altitude approaching 10 km. As part of the navigation, a new lunar potential model will be used that incorporates data from the recent Clementine mission. This paper provides understanding of the design of the Lunar Prospector mission and the optimization process of the nominal trajectory, orbit determination, launch windows, and lunar orbit targets, and discusses the feasibility of meeting the mission goals.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Folta, David
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Beckman, Mark
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Lozier, David
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Galal, Ken
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
September 8, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1997
Publication Information
Publication: Flight Mechanics Symposium 1997
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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