Oct 09 2014

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Lunar Flashlight targets 2017 launch

Its primary mission will be map ice locations on the Moon.

Here’s what’s super cool about it, though:

Lunar Flashlight is working toward a possible launch date in December 2017, when it would blast off on the first test flight of NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket, along with several other piggybacking payloads.

Lunar Flashlight is a CubeSat mission, meaning the body of the spacecraft is tiny — about the size of a cereal box, Cohen said. But after it’s deployed in space, the probe would get much bigger by unfurling an 860-square-foot (80 square meters) solar sail.

The spacecraft would then cruise toward the moon on a circuitous route, propelled along by the photons streaming from the sun. Lunar Flashlight would start orbiting the moon about six months after its launch, then spend another year spiraling down to get about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the lunar surface.

The probe would then make about 80 passes around the moon at this low altitude, measuring and mapping deposits of water ice in permanently shadowed craters near the lunar poles. It would do this science work with the aid of its solar sail.

[emphasis mine]

Lunar Flashlight

CubeSats…is there nothing they can’t do?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/10/09/lunar-flashlight-targets-2017-launch/

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