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Exploration through Navigation
Charting a Course to the Moon

Final Design by:

Team Name: "Moon Dusters"
Ms. Levin-Kretz's Fifth Grade
Sunrise Elementary


Team Name:  Moon Dusters (formerly Mrs. Levin-Kretz’s Class of Knowledge)
Spacecraft Name:  Star Shooters
Launch time and date:  10:30am on May 23rd
Duration of Journey:  1 month, 3 days
Expected Impact Date:  June 27th

Description of Route and Orbital paths:

  1.  Launch – The spacecraft will launch from KSC into a low Earth orbit.
  2. Low Earth Orbit – The spacecraft will remain in a low orbit only as long as it takes to start the transfer orbit burn.
  3. Transfer Orbit – The Spacecraft will enter a transfer orbit that will approach the moon from behind rather than pass in front of or behind the moon.
  4. Sling shot – The spacecraft will perform a half orbit around the moon to gain speed and perform a Earth Polar Lunar Return orbit.
  5. Lunar Return Orbit –The spacecraft will perform a Earth Polar Orbit in order to hit the Moon’s North Pole with enough energy to send up a cloud of dust.
  6. Impact - Once the impact site is determined, the space craft will adjust it’s course to the impact point.   Once the course is correct the impact probe will separate from the space craft so that it impacts 4 minutes before the rest of the space craft.

Navigation Instruments:  Radios, gyroscopes, computer controlled sextants.

Methods of guidance, navigation, control and tracking:
The primary method of Navigation will be using the Radio to receive positions and commands from Earth.  Telescopes and Radar sensers on different parts of Earth can track the position and velocity of the spacecraft and send course adjustments.  Back-up navigation in the event of radio failure will be done using gyroscopes and by computer controlled sextants for celestial navigation liquid thrusters will be used for course corrections and orbit transfers.

student drawing of orbit

student drawing of spaceship


 FirstGov  NASA

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