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NASA Eyes Earlier Launch for Lunar Trailblazer; Lori Glaze Quoted

1 min read
Lori Glaze
Lori Glaze NASA

NASA is considering its options to move to an earlier date for the launch of its Lunar Trailblazer spacecraft that is expected to be completed in October 2022, SpaceNews reported Friday.

Lunar Trailblazer, which is part of the agency's Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) program, is a small lunar orbiter that has been cleared to transition to full-scale development after it passed the Key Decision Point C review in November.

The spacecraft will launch as a rideshare payload on the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Development delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the launch of IMAP from October 2024 to February 2025.

“We’re looking across the whole directorate, looking for another ride for Lunar Trailblazer; a little sooner, if that’s possible,” Lori Glaze, planetary science division director at NASA, said in response to a question about the possibility of launching the orbiter as a co-manifested payload on one of the Commercial Lunar Payload Service missions.

Glaze said Wednesday during a meeting of the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science of the National Academies that NASA has not yet decided to take the spacecraft off the IMAP launch and is looking out for other launch opportunities for the orbiter.

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