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NASA Lunar Orbiter Supports International, Commercial Missions

A spacecraft belonging to NASA, which was initially built as a part of the endeavor to return humans to the natural satellite of earth, is now operating for the human lunar return. This also includes helping the commercial landers. One of the factors of the Vision for Space Exploration was a range of robotic missions to the moon, which focused to initiate the operations by 2008. This mission was announced by the former President George W. Bush, back in 2004. The first mission was an orbiter dedicated to collect the high-definition images of the surface of the moon along with other pieces of data, which was supposed to help in designing the lunar lander missions and future robotic.

LRO or Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a spacecraft launched in 2009. When the Vision for Space Exploration was canceled, NASA decided to operate Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as a part of their mission. LRO is operational even today and has approximately 20 kg fuel on board. One of the LRO project scientists, Noah Petro stated that the quantity of fuel may seem less but the annual consumption of fuel is not much as it manages the momentum of the spacecraft and executes minor adjustments. While attending the LEAG or Lunar Exploration Analysis Group he stated that the fuel on board is enough to support the chores of the LRO for 7 years. However, the period may decrease with the increase in the activities of the spacecraft including lunar landings and others. He further mentioned that in the upcoming fiscal year, LRO is about to receive the funding from the CLPS or Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, where NASA will purchase the payload space on the commercially designed landers. In fact, NASA is about to offer LRO with complete assistance regarding the upcoming commercial landers.