Tuesday, May 05, 2009

LRO Preview

There's a cool preview of the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) mission today on the Planetary Society Blog, written by guest blogger Jim Bell of Cornell University, a participating scientist on the LRO mission. The launch window for LRO opens on June 2.

For Orbiter users who want to preview or follow this mission, Brian Jones has created a great add-on for LRO. As usual, Brian has provided excellent models and user documentation to simulate this upcoming mission in substantial detail. The screen shots above show his Orbiter model in lunar orbit.

Brian has created Orbiter add-ons for a number of real-life space missions that I have tried out and written about in past blog entries. These include MRO, Dawn, Phoenix, Genesis, and Rosetta. I just noticed a more recent add-on that is very interesting, the IEAT (Ion Engine Attitude and Throttle) MFD, an Orbiter control panel that helps with guidance and control of continuous thrust spacecraft such as Dawn. No time to try this out now, but I just downloaded it. I saw a great display on Dawn at JPL's Open House on Saturday, including one of its ion engines.

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