Friday, July 11, 2008

LRO Update

Ok, I was inspired to write this post because of the picture that was sent out by our Project Manager, Craig Tooley. Let me just get this out of my system - LRO is HOT! Ok. I feel better now.

The picture to the left is of LRO on what is called an Aronson table. The Aronson table enables our engineers to move the spacecraft to different orientations (ie, put the spacecraft on different sides) for testing purposes.

Right now, our spacecraft is undergoing CPT, or Comprehensive Performance Test. This is where we check out all of the systems on the spacecraft while we simulate going through various stages in flight. Our engineers are working around the clock to make sure that everything is functioning properly. You can think of it like doing a practice run before we actually go into space. These tests are critical to working out all the bugs!

LRO has also simultaneously been undergoing the blanketing process. The entire spacecraft needs to be covered in protective material to ensure that it is kept "warm" while in space. The blanket material is the shiny metallic coverings seen on the above photo. The blanketing process is one of the last hardware processes. The last thing that needs to be done to the spacecraft is the installation of the solar array, which is scheduled for Monday, July 14. Once the installation of the solar array is over, LRO will be completely assembled!