Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer
Artist's depiction of the LADEE spacecraft in orbit at the Moon
|Mission type||Lunar Orbiter|
|Launch date||August 2013 |
|Carrier rocket||Minotaur V|
|Launch site||Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Island, Virginia
|Mission duration||100 days nominal, up to 9 months expected|
|Satellite of||The Moon|
|Inclination||Retrograde equatorial orbit|
|Orbital period||113 minutes|
The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a space exploration mission led by NASA Ames Research Center in collaboration with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center scheduled for launch in mid-2013. During its nominal 100 day science mission, LADEE will orbit around the Moon's equator, and use instruments aboard the spacecraft to study the lunar exosphere and dust in the Moon's vicinity. Instruments will include a dust detector, a neutral mass spectrometer, and an ultraviolet-visible spectrometer, as well as a technology demonstration, a laser communications (lasercomm) terminal. LADEE was announced during the presentation of NASA's FY09 budget in February 2008. It will be launched aboard a Minotaur V from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2013)|
The LADEE flight article completed full-scale thermal vacuum chamber testing at NASA Ames Research Center in April 2013. Previous mechanical tests—including acoustic, vibration and shock—were completed prior to the thermal-vacuum testing.
Mission objectives 
LADEE is a strategic mission that will address three major science goals:
- Determine the global density, composition, and time variability of the fragile lunar atmosphere before it is perturbed by further human activity;
- Determine if the Apollo astronaut sightings of diffuse emission at tens of kilometers above the surface were sodium glow or dust and;
- Document the dust impactor environment (size-frequency) to help guide design engineering for the outpost and also future robotic missions.
LADEE carries three science instruments and a technology demonstration.
The science payload consists of:
- Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS), which will perform in situ measurements of exospheric species. The instrument has heritage from the SAM instrument on MSL.
- UV-Vis Spectrometer (UVS), which will measure both the dust and atmosphere. The instrument has heritage from the UV-Vis spectrometer on the LCROSS mission.
- Lunar Dust EXperiment (LDEX), which will directly measure dust. The instrument has heritage from instruments on Galileo, Ulysses and Cassini.
The technology demonstration is for optical communication. The Lunar Laser Com Demo (LLCD) will test a new method of communicating with spacecraft that will dramatically increase the rate of data return.
Propulsion system 
The LADEE propulsion system will consist of an orbit control system (OCS) and a reaction control system (RCS). The OCS will provide velocity control along the +Z axis for large velocity adjustments. The RCS will provide three-axis attitude control during burns of the OCS system, and will also provide momentum dumps for the reaction wheels which are the primary attitude control system between OCS burns.
Image Gallery 
The Modular Common Spacecraft Bus that will become LADEE, being tested at NASA Ames Research Center in 2008.
See also 
- Moon Storms
- "Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)". National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog. NASA.
- "LADEE Project Manager Update". NASA. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- "NASA Solicitation: Instruments for LADEE Lunar Mission". SpaceRef. March 25, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
- "Statement of Work - LADEE Spacecraft Propulsion System". NASA ARC. Aug 27, 2009.
- NASA Ames Research Center
- NASA — Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)
- NASA LADEE Mission page
- LADEE at NASA Science
- MIT's Lincoln Lab, lasercomm terminal development
- NASA's Lunar Science Program - Feb 27, 2008 - Kelly Snook
- YouTube overview for K-8 students