Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Glitch resolved, Nasa probe heads to the moon

09 September 2013, 14:34

Cape Canaveral - Engineers have resolved a minor glitch with a new Nasa robotic lunar probe, which blasted off on Friday night for the first leg of a 30-day trip to the moon.

Shortly after the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or Ladee, spacecraft separated from its Minotaur 5 launch vehicle, its positioning system shut down due to what appeared to be a high electrical current.

Engineers quickly determined there was no problem with the reaction wheels, which are needed to steer and stabilise the spacecraft. Rather, the glitch involved a fault protection system designed to safeguard the wheels.

"The limits that caused the powering off of the wheels soon after activation were disabled, and reaction wheel fault protection has been selectively re-enabled," Nasa wrote in a statement posted on its website.

Engineers will assess how to manage the fault protection system, added project manager Butler Hine, with Nasa's Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California.

Communications system

Ladee blasted off aboard the Minotaur 5 rocket, which was making its debut flight, at 23:27 EDT or 03:27 GMT on Saturday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Nasa's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

The rocket, made up of three decommissioned intercontinental ballistic missile motors and two commercial boosters, deposited Ladee into a highly elliptical orbit stretching as far as 273 588km from Earth. During its third pass around the planet, Ladee will be in position to fire its braking rocket and slip into lunar orbit.

A 30-day checkout of the probe's science instruments will follow. Engineers also will test a prototype two-way optical laser communications system that Nasa is developing for use on future space probes.

Ladee's main mission is to analyse the thin shell of gases enveloping the lunar surface, a tenuous atmosphere known as an exosphere. It also will look for signs that the lunar dust rising off the surface.

Scientists believe the dust may be the cause of a strange glow on the lunar horizon spotted by the Apollo astronauts and Nasa's 1960s-era Ranger robotic probes.

- Reuters

Tags nasa space

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Quit if you can't fight corruptio...

An MP has told President Uhuru Kenyatta to quit office if he cannot fight corruption. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Investigate Uhuru, Ruto for corru...

Investigate President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto's offices over corruption, CORD leader Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Its a 1 horse race to State House...

Its a 1 horse race to State House, DP William Ruto has mocked the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Enjoy your time left in power, We...

CORD Co Principal Moses Wetangu'la has told the Jubilee Coalition to enjoy its last few months in power before it is voted out in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Stop hiding in State House and sa...

ODM MP's have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to release drought aid and to stop sitting on public funds. Read more...