LRO Captures Image of LADEE In Lunar Orbit

©ASU

LADEE as Seen by LRO

Imaging NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft with LROC required extremely precise timing, worked out by the LADEE, LROC, and LRO operations teams.

LADEE is in an equatorial orbit (east-to-west) while LRO is in a polar orbit (south-to-north).

By happenstance the two spacecraft are occasionally very close - on 15 January the two came within 9 km of each other. Since LROC is a pushbroom imager, it builds up an image one line at a time, thus catching a target as small and fast as LADEE is tricky!

Both spacecraft are orbiting the Moon with velocities near 1600 meters per second (3600 mph), so timing and pointing of LRO needs to be nearly perfect to capture LADEE in an LROC image.

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