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 LCROSS - Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Spacecraft
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Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS)


After LCROSS was accepted to fly as a companion mission to the LRO, the LCROSS payload team conducted an extensive process to select the components needed for an effective science payload. The payload team assembled a set of instruments that could collect data from different features of the Centaur impact but would be complementary to each other. This maximizes the science return by providing redundancy and robustness.

The science payload consisted of a total of nine instruments consisting of one visible, two near infrared, and two mid-infra-red cameras; one visible and two near-infrared spectrometers; and a photometer. A data handling unit (DHU) collects the information from each instrument for transmission back to LCROSS Mission Control. Due to the schedule and budget constraints, the LCROSS team took full advantage of available rugged, commercially available components.

Although the selected instruments are considered rugged for their intended uses on Earth, space is a harsh environment. The LCROSS payload team put the individual instruments though a rigorous testing cycle that simulated launch and the conditions of space. The team identified design weakness and modifications for space use and worked with the manufac- turers to strengthen their designs. The payload was assembled and underwent additional tests to determine how the system worked together. Once the payload met all testing criteria and the team was satisfied, it was shipped to Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, Calif., for integration into the LCROSS spacecraft.

Instrument checkout and calibration were performed during the swing-by of the moon 5 days after launch. One hour prior to impact, instruments were powered on and returned data until impact of the spacecraft.


instruments Click to Enlarge

The instrumentation selections and supporting observations provide multiple complementary measurement techniques and, thus, redundancy and robustness to the LCROSS mission. Moreover, multiple measurements and platforms maximize the science return.

The LCROSS Payload consists of nine science instruments assembled onto the LCROSS spacecraft Payload Observation Deck. Each of the LCROSS Payload Instruments are briefly described [here].

Technical Information
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Editor: Brian Day
NASA Official: Daniel Andrews
Last Updated: October 2010