REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Oct. 9, 2009 -- Astronomers and space enthusiasts worldwide cheered as the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) successfully impacted the moon's Cabeus crater this morning at 4:31 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. LCROSS was built and integrated by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) under contract to NASA Ames Research Center.
The dramatic impact represents the end of a 112-day mission to find water ice on the moon that could serve as a resource for future lunar outposts. According to NASA, the debris cloud created by LCROSS' impact produced good telemetry and was recorded by space and ground-based observatories. NASA will gather and analyze impact data from professional and amateur astronomers worldwide over the next several months to determine if water ice is present.
"The success of this mission is a tribute to the tremendous engineering skills and partnership between Northrop Grumman and NASA Ames Research Center," said Steve Hixson, vice president of Advanced Concepts-Space and Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We believe LCROSS will open the doors to new research and exploration missions based on the LCROSS model."
Built on a tight budget and schedule, LCROSS uses a standardized structural element; commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, sensors and components; flight-proven payload instruments and sophisticated risk management. The spacecraft was ready for delivery in just 29 months for a total mission cost of $79 million.
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