Early Operations Flight Correlation of the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)
Peabody, Hume L.
Nguyen, Daniel H.
Cornwell, Donald M.
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The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission launched on September 6, 2013 and underwent a one month cruise phase before lunar insertion. The LADEE spacecraft is a power limited, octagonal, composite bus structure with solar panels on all eight sides with four vertical segments per side and 2 panels dedicated to instruments. One of these panels has the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD), which represents a furthering of the laser communications technology demonstration proved out by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). LLCD increases the bandwidth of communication to and from the moon with less mass and power than LRO’s technology demonstrator. The LLCD Modem and Controller boxes are mounted to an internal cruciform composite panel and have no dedicated radiator. The thermal design relies on power cycling of the boxes and radiation of waste heat to the inside of the panels, which then reject the heat when facing cold space. The LADEE mission includes a slow roll and numerous attitudes to accommodate the challenging thermal requirements for all the instruments on board. During the cruise phase, the internal Modem and Controller avionics for LLCD were warmer than predicted by more than modeling uncertainty would suggest. This caused concern that if the boxes were considerably warmer than expected while off, they would also be warmer when operating and could limit the operational time when in lunar orbit. The thermal group at Goddard Space Flight Center evaluated the models and design for these critical avionics for LLCD. Upon receipt of the spacecraft models, an audit was performed and data was collected from the flight telemetry to perform a sanity check of the models and to correlate to flight where possible. This paper describes the efforts to correlate the model to flight data and to predict the thermal performance when in lunar orbit and presents some lessons learned.