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  Space Cover 31: Lunar Prospector

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 31: Lunar Prospector

Posts: 868
From: Shady Side, Md
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 11-15-2009 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 31 (November 16, 2009)

The Lunar Prospector mission was the third selected by NASA for full development and construction as part of the Discovery program.

At a cost of $63 million, the 19 month mission was designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the moon including mapping of the surface composition and possible polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields and study of lunar outgassing events.

Lunar prospector was launched at 9:28:44 PM EST on January 6, 1998 aboard the maiden flight of the Lockheed-Martin Athena 2 commercial launch vehicle.

The mission ended on July 31, 1999 at 5:52:02 AM EDT when Lunar Prospector was deliberately targeted to impact the moon in a permanently shadowed crater near the lunar south pole. It was hoped that the impact would liberate water vapor from the suspected ice deposits in the crater and that the plume would be detectable from earth, however no such plume was detected.

Two very appropriate stamps was used on this cover. The first stamp used commemorated the Apollo 8 flight to the moon and was issued on May 5, 1969. The other stamp was issued as part of a 10 stamp Space Exploration booklet pane which was issued on October 1, 1991. The other nine stamps depicted the planets and this stamp depicted the moon.

John Macco
Space Unit#1457


Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 11-15-2009 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neat! I had forgotten that they had tried the "crash & plume" trick with Lunar Prospector, long before LCROSS. Thanks for the reboot, John!

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 11-23-2009 08:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John, this is another production of my firm. The cachet cover for the Lunar Prospector launch aboard the new Lockheed Martin's Athena II rocket from the Cape in 1998 also contained a one-sided printed insert card.

The pictorial cancel depicted here was designed by an associate of mine, on request by my company, and approved by the USPS for the "Launch Station" along with a similar pictorial postmark used at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, as the official "Mission Control Station."

All times are CT (US)

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