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LADEE enters commissioning orbit
Posted: Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 7:49 AM ET (1149 GMT)
LADEE illustration (NASA) NASA's LADEE lunar orbiter spacecraft entered a circular orbit late Saturday, starting a process of checking out the spacecraft and testing its laser communications experiment. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Experiment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft went into what project officials call its "commissioning orbit" late Saturday night after the third in a series of maneuvers put the spacecraft into a circular 250-kilometer orbit. LADEE had initially entered orbit around the Moon on October 6 in an elliptical orbit. LADEE will remain in this orbit for about a month to check out the spacecraft and also test a laser communications payload on the spacecraft, before moving into a 50-kilometer orbit for its primary science mission. The ongoing federal government shutdown prevented NASA from communicating news about the orbit insertion, although spacecraft operations are continuing.
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