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LADEE

Artist concept of commercial Mars satellites providing communications (Image: ASA/JPL)

You can land the most advanced spacecraft in history on the Mars, but if you can’t keep in touch with it, it might as well be so much scrap. To prevent that from happening, NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the feasibility of using private satellites to provide communications into the 2020s between Earth and the fleet of exploration probes operating on and around Mars.  Read More

Artist's depiction of LADEE approaching lunar orbit (Image: NASA Ames/Dana Berry)

In space, no one can hear you hit the Moon at near-hypersonic speed. Today, NASA's Ames Research Center announced that the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) made a controlled impact on the far side of the Moon some time between 9:30 and 10:30 pm PDT on Thursday, bringing to an end its mission to study the lunar atmosphere.  Read More

LADEE will continue operations until impact around April 21 (Image: NASA)

Another lunar mission is drawing to a close, if not with a bang, then a thump. On Thursday, NASA held a press conference to discuss the final weeks of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission before the spacecraft makes a controlled impact on the far side of the Moon on or before April 21.  Read More

Artist's concept of the LLCD transmitting to Earth (Image: NASA)

This week, NASA released the results of its Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration’s (LLCD) 30-day test carried out by its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) that is currently in orbit around the Moon. According to the space agency, the LLCD mission proved that laser communications are practical at a distance of a quarter of a million miles and that such a system could perform as well, if not better, than any NASA radio system.  Read More

Artist's concept of LADEE entering lunar orbit (Image: NASA)

NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) experiment made history yesterday as it beamed data back to Earth from lunar orbit at previously unheard of speed for a space mission. Operating from the LADEE lunar orbiter, the LLCD used lasers to transmit data to Earth at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) as a demonstration of a technology that NASA hopes will one day not only keep up with the communications demands of future missions, but also greatly enhance their capabilities.  Read More

LADEE suffered a minor malfunction shortly after launch (Image: NASA)

On Friday, NASA made a historic launch that sent an unmanned probe to the Moon to study something you could be forgiven for thinking doesn't exist: the Moon's atmosphere. At 11:27 PM EDT, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia atop a US Air Force Minotaur V launch vehicle provided by Orbital Sciences Corp. The unmanned probe is now on a 30-day journey to the Moon, where it will study the all but non-existent atmosphere of the satellite.  Read More

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