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Lunar Prospector (Discovery 3)

Lunar Prospector [NASA]

Lunar Prospector was a small spin stabilized lunar orbiter. Using its Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS), it collected a large amount of scientific data that helps researchers understand the chemical composition of the lunar surface.

The Luar Prospector was launched on an launch vehicle with additional Trans-Lunar-Injection-Stage (TLIS). TLIS consisted of an ATK build spin stabilized Star-Stage-3700S powered by a Star-37FM motor.

Some of the spacecraft's scientific instruments, also measured the Moon's magnetic and gravitational fields, enhancing our current understanding as well as potentially enabling future mission scientists to design more fuel-efficient journeys to the Moon. In addition, Prospector will carry a special instrument, called an Alpha Particle Spectrometer (APS), that will sniff out small quantities of gases that leak out from the lunar interior.

A Magnetometer (MAG) and the Doppler Gravity Experiment (DGE) complemented the scientific payload. After the end of its mission the spacecraft was crashed on the lunar surface.

Lunar Prospector carried also a small capsule by Celestis called Celestis-02 with the ashes of the late Gene Shoemaker.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Lunar Orbiter
Operator: NASA
Contractors: Lockheed Martin
Equipment: GRS, APS, MAG, DGE, Celestis capsule
Configuration: LM-100
Propulsion: ?
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 1.5 years
Mass: 295 kg, 126 kg (dry)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Lunar Prospector (Discovery 3) 1998-001A 07.01.1998 CC SLC-46 Athena-2 [Star-Stage-3700S]


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