NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

MERC's Contributions:

  • Spacecraft Electronics
  • Structural Design
  • Integration & Test
  • Systems Engineering
  • Structural Analysis

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, is a state of the art spacecraft designed to create the most precise and comprehensive topographic maps of the moon’s surface to date, to aid in identifying favorable sites for future robotic and human lunar missions with an emphasis on the polar regions due to possible continuous access to solar illumination and the increased prospect of water in the shadowed regions.

After completing a preliminary design review in February 2006 and a critical design review in November 2006, the spacecraft launched into orbit on June 18, 2009 and consists of six unique instruments that capture data to help further understand the global topography, the lunar polar regions, including possible water ice deposits, presence of deep space radiation in lunar orbit, and day-night temperature maps.

Currently in its eighth year of orbit, the LRO continues to provide deep insight about life on the moon and has aided in numerous new scientific discoveries that have furthered the understanding of the lunar environment, paving the way for future human exploration of our solar system.

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