NASA's moon mission: watch live streaming fly-by video Tuesday

LCROSS fly by orbit

As NASA prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in July, a dual-purpose robot mission is closing in on the moon. Among the many missions of the LRO/LCROSS mission: search for signs of water for future human exploration, and take a closer look at the moon as it is today.

The double-dip special launched earlier this month aboard an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission first was bumped a day by the space shuttle Endeavour, which wound up grounded due to a recurring hydrogen leak problem.

The next day, the launch teams worked around weather concerns as they prepared for a moon mission that's packed with scientific studies--and a rare chance for you to participate and watch the moon sail by at about 5,600 miles under the cameras.

The paired LCROSS/LRO missions have different goals, and part company to achieve them. The live streaming video will be available as the moon-smashing mission LCROSS adjusts its orbit to ensure an October landing at just the right spot.

Earlier Tuesday, the LRO--the lunar orbiter portion--will undergo a special flight adjustment to settle it into just the right orbit to circle the moon. NASA's providing live coverage of the events, as follows:

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, will be captured by the moon's gravity and prepare for the commissioning phase of its mission on June 23. NASA TV live coverage of LRO's orbit insertion begins at 5:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday, with the actual engine burn to begin orbit insertion starting at 5:47 a.m.

At 8:20 a.m. Tuesday, the Science Operations Center at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., will stream live telemetry-based spacecraft animation and the visible camera images from the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, spacecraft as it swings by the moon before entering into a looping polar Earth orbit. Live video streaming via the Internet will last approximately one hour.

You can access the lunar swingby here. NASA says the coverage will include two video streams:

  1. Live video feed from the spacecraft's visible light camera at one frame per second.
  2. Real-time, telemetry-based animation of the lunar swingby.

Note: you'll need Flash to display the streams, so make sure yours is onboard and updated. You can also follow the excitement via these Twitter feeds: LRO and LCROSS.

To whet your appetite, here's a quick video look at the missions.

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