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LCROSS: Successful Centaur Separation Mission Update

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009

image Thu, 08 Oct 2009 10:11:22 PM EDT

At 6:50 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft successfully separated from the Centaur that is has been attached to since early June 2009, when the LCROSS and LRO were stacked at Space Launch Complex 41, a few days before launch from Cape Canaveral. After the separation sequence was initiated, sensors attached to three break wires indicated a successful separation.

After the separation, the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft completed a 180 degree flip maneuver and powered up the science payload to watch the Centaur steadily increase the distance between them. Mission operations then commanded the spacecraft to perform a breaking burn to create a separation distance of 600 km from the Centaur, This was determined by the science team as the optimal distance to view the Centaur on the surface of the moon.

The Centaur will impact the floor of Cabeus crater at 4:31:19 a.m. PDT. Following about 4 minutes behind and collecting and transmitting data back to LCROSS mission control, the Shepherding spacecraft will impact the surface at approximately 4:35:45 a.m. PDT.

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