back to article Kamikaze Moon mission on track as NASA grips its tumbling LADEE

NASA has confirmed that its LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) probe is back on track for lunar orbit after being temporarily left tumbling by a power surge which occurred shortly after its launch. LADEE took off atop a US Air Force Minotaur V rocket on 11:27pm EDT on Friday from NASA's Wallops Flight …


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  1. Zot

    It's pronounced 'Laddie' - just in case someone didn't know.


    : )

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    Not so much a crash

    More a means of landing a team of nano-bots programmed to build a small branch of MacDonalds Before the Chinese get a restaurant up there.

  3. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    Modular designs you say? Oh, like all those sci-fi ideas wrapped up into one? Great! :D

    It's the look I go for in most of my sci-fi works/hobbies now. :)

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    NASA estimates the new system will cut the time it would take to download an HD movie from orbit from 639 hours using radio to eight minutes; an odd example to choose, unless the agency is putting together a pitch from Kim Dotcom."

    Maybe they're jumping on the "no NSA spying" cloud data bandwagon and are planning on soft landing a server farm up there.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    622Mb/sec. From the Moon.

    UK subscribers can only dream of getting that from the cabinet 10m from their front door

    1. poopypants

      Re: 622Mb/sec. From the Moon.

      Yeah, but NASA's ISP bill is astronomical.

      1. Graham Marsden

        Re: 622Mb/sec. From the Moon.

        I bet their roaming charges are out of this world...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    [insert your own joke about ladee drivers losing control]

    And a tech site should know the difference between Mbps and MBps, along with the redundant redundancy of the phrase "HD definition"

    1. Martin Budden Bronze badge

      PNS Syndrome

  7. Arachnoid

    RIAA alert!

    I hope they have copyright on that film

  8. Wzrd1

    My mind is still locked onto the 0.5 watt laser signal.

    I'm quite up to date with our current technological capabilities, even quite a few classified ones, but the thought of a half watt of IR laser making the trip from the moon, through space, then the Earth's atmosphere and be intelligible is mind boggling.

    Oh well, guess its my age showing. I worked on vacuum tube circuitry throughout my teens, transistors as well and moved into IC's, then LSI chips and finally quit the electronics tech game after replacing hundreds of SMD chips.

    Now, my arms are too short to see those terminals to solder them.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      "My mind is still locked onto the 0.5 watt laser signal."

      Well Voyager did Jupiter from about 20W.. Multiple receivers and lots of error correction can really help.

      JPL have been working on micro-radian pointing accuracy for a long time. The really

      astonishing bit is handling the last 100 odd Km of air turbulence through the atmosphere.

      Where this really scores will be the longer range missions to the Outer Planets. The current one going to Pluto will have a single 8 gig (not sure if its byte or bit) burst dumped at about 100 bps. At laser rates that's less than 2 minutes of observation time.

      For the right mission and the right instruments this is the next generation of space probe communications. I can only hope it will become part of JPL's standard tool kit for exploration missions.

  9. Kharkov

    Before it self-destructs...

    Has anyone considered this for an idea?

    Once the mission is complete, why not leave it in orbit where it can serve as a high-speed signal relay for whatever ground/orbit probes/rovers/whatever is doing science?

    MAVEN, which will launch soon, has the ability to relay signals from the ground back to Earth so rather than have EACH probe/rover be able to communicate with Earth, have a high-capacity relay which will allow faster data-transfer.

    I'm just saying...

    1. Alex in Tokyo

      Re: Before it self-destructs...

      I'd have thought you'd want such a relay (which sounds like a good idea, for sure) to be at the L1 Earth-Moon Lagrange Point.

      I suspect that the fuel requirements for getting LADEE there after doing its lunar orbits might be a bit much.

  10. A Twig

    Looks cool, and excited to see what the mission bring, but is modular design really a revolutionary concept in 2013?

    How has it taken them so long to switch on to this concept in a long era of budget cuts and cost reductions?

    Ah well, here's hoping they do it properly so that it works, then they might actually stick with it!

  11. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge


    Don't let the tinfoil-hat brigade now say that the faint glow on the horizon spotted by astronauts can be seen on images and proves that the moon landings were faked.

    I nagged my parents at age 7 to be allowed to stay up late to see the landing on the moon. They allowed me to see it, and it was awesome to see it. I positively loath the deniers, despite all the evidence from non-NASA sources (ask people at Jodrell Bank and others). It is so annoying to hear these narrow-minded idiots deny one of mankind's greatest achievements.


    1. WraithCadmus

      Re: PLEASE

      For me the most compelling argument against the conspiracies is that the Soviets never argued it.

      1. A K Stiles

        Re: PLEASE

        For me, the compelling argument is that scientists globally (not just America / NASA) can bounce a laser off reflector pads that were left on the moon's surface by the Apollo missions and thus determine the exact distance between us (at that particular moment). As it only works when the laser hits the right spot (about 4 square linguini?) and not generally from the moon's surface, how do the deniers deal with that?

  12. Monkey Bob

    Kamikaze probe doing a spot of landscaping...

    ...& not a single LADEE garden joke in 12 hours. Shameful.

  13. 96percentchimp

    ...or to look on the bright side

    "failure would be problematic for many planned probe designs"

    I know the Reg doesn't have a half-full glass, only half-empty ones, but the flipside of of the modular approach is that fixing the problems with this unit will mean they don't have to reinvent the (reaction) wheel for the next probe using this modular design.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Arghhhh ... the Thargoids are attacking

  15. Winkypop Silver badge

    Crash landing - great more trash strewn about

    Man has such a nasty habit of screwing up pristine environments.

    What happened to "take only photos/measurements, leave only foot/pad prints"?

  16. Peter Simpson 1

    Just like the old days

    I, too, stayed up to watch the moon landing. I'll never forget the thrill of hearing "Tranquility base here, the Eagle has landed."

    Friday night, I stayed up again, with NASA TV on the computer, some red-filtered lights and a pair of binoculars. I even cajoled my wife into staying up. Two minutes after launch, in the south-east sky, I saw the rapidly rising point of light that was LADEE. We both watched, fascinated, as the second stage burned out and LADEE headed off towards the Moon.

    The thrill was still there. Go, NASA!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LA[Y]DEE? Wallops Flight Facility?

    Reg, please keep your spoof articles for April 1st.

    And LA[Y]DEE is clearly intended to be a play on PARIS.

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