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Exploration through Navigation
Charting a Course to the Moon

Preliminary Design by:
Workman Orbiters
Ms. Jamison's
6th grade class

Navigation Plan: Earth to Moon

Team name: Workman Orbiters

Spacecraft name:  Lunar Eclipse

Launch time and date:  July 7, 2009 – 10:00am

Duration of journey:  6 days

Expected impact date:  July 13, 2009

Description of route and orbital paths: 

On July 7, 2009, the Lunar Eclipse will take off from Kennedy Space Center at 10:00am.  Once outside of Earth’s atmosphere, we will drop the stabilizers and the fuel tank.  We will orbit Earth once or possibly three times and leave orbit in the direction of the moon head on.  As we enter the moon’s gravity we will drop the rear engine and orbit the moon once.  Once over the moon’s North Pole the Lunar Eclipse will divide into two parts.  The front part will increase speed by 50% to crash into the moon’s North Pole.  The rear will take measurements of the contents of the dust and land about an hour later.

Navigation Instruments:

We would use sonar through a radio receiver, star maps or charts, and the resources of Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control to help navigate, communicate with, and collect data from our spacecraft.

Methods of guidance, navigation, control, and tracking:

We would send a signal to the Lunar Eclipse to see if it is receiving our information, use a data link to help control and guide it.  We would use certain information from star maps to program the Eclipse to know how many orbits around the Earth and the Moon it needs to take and the path it needs to take to get to the North Pole of the Moon.  This would also help to keep it on track.  We would also have controls on Earth to remotely control the spacecraft and make a manual override, if something goes wrong with the navigation system.  The Lunar Eclipse would be similar to the Ranger spacecraft series used to first obtain close-up images of the lunar surface.  Instead of the Lunar Eclipse just taking pictures, it would be able to split apart causing one part to impact the North Pole and upon impact turn on and begin sending data back to the part orbiting the Moon.  The part of the craft impacting the North Pole would scan and analyze the ejecta and possible water ice and vapor occurring above the lunar surface.  If the impact releases materials that will tell us if there are other materials of importance, we will analyze them as well to see if they relate to the finding of possible water or water like substances.  We would communicate with Johnson Space Center to send data they received to us as we collected data from the Lunar Eclipse we were receiving too.  The radio signals would be converted to tracking, visual, and scientific data that could help in learning more about the composition of the North Pole and the determination of water evidence.  

student navigation map

 FirstGov  NASA

Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: October 2007
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