NASA Ames Research Center recently took delivery of the propulsion system for the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE). Working as a small observatory, LADEE will gather detailed information about conditions near the surface, as well as environmental influences on lunar dust. The propulsion system was built by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California. Ames Center Director Pete Worden and Space Systems/Loral President John Celli attended the brief ceremony.
LADEE will orbit the Moon in a low-altitude retrograde equatorial orbit, the most complex lunar flight path attempted since the Apollo missions. A thorough understanding of the lunar dust environment will provide valuable information for future missions.