NASA launched their Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer [LADEE] from Wallops Island, Virginia on Friday, Sept. 6.
The unmanned probe is set to enter lunar orbit on Oct. 6 and has a current mission of gathering “detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. A thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well,” according to NASA.
The lunar orbiter did experience a minor delay after it entered earth’s orbit. The spacecraft entered “Safe mode” on Sept. 11 to fix a camera alignment issue. Later that day, however, the spacecraft executed a successful test of its Orbital Control System.
“The LADEE spacecraft completed the AM-1b maneuver yesterday. We are currently in fine pointing mode, and everything looks good. The post-burn engineering assessment is that the main engine performed very well with no issues,” NASA reported.