LUNAR-A Launch Postponed
16 Jan 2003
(Source: Institute of Space and Astronautical Science)
Current Status of LUNAR-A Project
January 16, 2003
Due to the postponement of the MUSES-C launch, the LUNAR-A project schedule has been changed. All the project members held a new inaugural meeting on November 26, 2002, and we decided that the team would work toward the launch scheduled after FY2004. According to the new schedule, the coupling test of the spacecraft and the penetrator is planned for February 2003 and the overall integration test will start in October 2003. The setup operations for these tests are underway.
The biggest task at present is the calibration of the transceiver onboard the penetrator. Every day, the performance of the transceivers for both the penetration test and the actual penetrator is being verified in the electromagnetic shield room at Building C 3F and in the electromagnetic shield box inside the thermostatic chamber in the first floor of the building at NT Space Systems, Ltd. Just like the transceivers, lunar seismometers are also being fabricated for the penetration test and the actual application. Since checks are required for each step of the manufacturing process of the transceivers and seismometers, the team members are extremely busy lately.
The lunar seismometer installed in the penetrator is also being tested in the tunnel at Inuyama Seismographical Observatory, Nagoya University. In the tunnel, the actual seismic activities are recorded and compared with data obtained by the international standard's high bandwidth seismometer next to it. The data obtained so far shows that, while it is very compact, light and requires little power compared to a ground-application seismometer, the LUNAR-A seismometer can measure ground vibration with extremely high accuracy.
The year 2003 is a significant milestone for the LUNAR-A project. I expect that all the team members will cooperate to work out all the remaining tasks for the launch.