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Intelligent Systems Division Team Operating LCROSS Spacecraft and Staffing Mission Control
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Intelligent Systems Division Team Operating LCROSS Spacecraft and Staffing Mission Control

June 23 – LCROSS performed a lunar swingby to enter into an elongated polar Earth orbit to position LCROSS for impact on the lunar south pole. During the swingby the spacecraft observed three lunar surface craters and calibrated its sensors.

June 18 was the successful launch of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission. LCROSS launched at 2:32PM and will impact the Moon in early November.

LCROSS will guide an empty upper stage on a collision course with a permanently shaded crater in an effort to kick up evidence of water at the moon's poles. LCROSS itself will also impact the lunar surface during its course of study.

Ames Research Center is the lead for this important mission. The Intelligent Systems Division’s Mission Operations System (MOS) team, led by John Schreiner, is currently staffing the LCROSS Mission Operations Control Room and Payload teams that are operating the spacecraft in space.

An animation of the mission is available at You can follow the mission’s progress on the blog of LCROSS Flight Director Paul Tompkins at

View a video clip showing the Code TI staff in the Mission Operations Center at Ames during the recent LCROSS lunar swingby.

Current Flight and Development Teams:

  • John Schreiner, Mission Operations Manager, Mission Operations System (MOS) Lead
  • Paul Tompkins, Flight Director, Flight Team Lead
  • Rusty Hunt, Flight Director, Ground Data Systems (GDS) Lead
  • Matt D’Ortenzio, Flight Controller, Communications Link Analysis, DSN Scheduling Lead
  • Rick Alena, Communications Link Analysis, Configuration Management Lead
  • John Bresina, Activity Planning and Scheduling Lead
  • Khanh Trinh, Simulation Lead
  • Mark Shirley, Payload Flight Console, Payload Software Development Lead

Former Development Team members:

  • Greg Dorais, Mission Operations System (MOS) Manager
  • Robert Duffy, Mission Documentation
  • Masoud Mansouri-Samani, V&V
  • Silvano Colombano, V&V
  • Greg Larchev, Simulation
  • David Nishikawa, GUI Testing and Verification

In addition, contributions of team members from ARC Codes R, S, and P, GSFC, JPL, DSN, and Northrop Grumman have been equally critical to the success of this mission.


NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Spacecraft are on their way to the moon atop the same Atlas V rocket.

LCROSS successfully completed a lunar swingby and calibration of its science instruments on June 23. Shortly after periselene, the time of closest approach to the lunar surface, the LCROSS science payload was switched on for one hour for calibration of its cameras and spectrometers. The spacecraft observed three targets on the lunar surface, and performed multiple scans of the moon's horizon to calibrate its sensors.

The LCROSS Control Room at NASA Ames Reseach Center during launch, seen from the desk of Mission Manager John Schreiner

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