A Caltech Library Service

NASA's Lunar Trailblazer Mission: A Pioneering Small Satellite for Lunar Water and Lunar Geology

Ehlmann, Bethany L. and Klima, Rachel L. and Seybold, Calina C. and Klesh, Andrew T. and Au, Mitchell H. and Bender, Holly A. and Bennett, C. Lee and Blaney, Diana L. and Bowles, Neil and Calcutt, Simon and Copley-Woods, Djuna and Dickson, James L. and Djotni, Karim and Donaldson Hanna, Kerri and Edwards, Christopher S. and Evans, Rory and Felder, Emily and Fogg, Robert and Green, Robert O. and Hawkins, Gary and House, Martha and Islas, Samuel and Lantoine, Gregory and Linch, Sue and McCaa, Thomas and McKinley, Ian and Merkley, Trevor F. and Miura, Jasper K. and Pieters, Carle M. and Santiago, Wil and Scire, Elena and Sherwood, Richard and Shirley, Katherine and Smith, Chris and Sondheim, Michael and Sullivan, Peter and Temples, Jon and Thompson, David R. and Waldorff, Kristian I. and Williamson, Walton R. and Warren, Tristam J. and Wood, Joshua L. and Zareh, Shannon (2022) NASA's Lunar Trailblazer Mission: A Pioneering Small Satellite for Lunar Water and Lunar Geology. In: 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference (AERO). IEEE , Piscataway, NJ, pp. 1-14. ISBN 978-1-6654-3760-8.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Selected in 2019 as a NASA SIMPLEx mission, Lunar Trailblazer is in implementation for flight system delivery at the end of 2022. The mission's goal is to understand the form, abundance, and distribution of water on the Moon and the lunar water cycle. Lunar Trailblazer also collects data of candidate landing sites to inform planning for future human and robotic exploration of the Moon and evaluate the potential for in situ resource utilization. Lunar Trailblazer's two science instruments, the High-resolution Volatiles and Minerals Moon Mapper (HVM3) and the Lunar Thermal Mapper (LTM) provide simultaneous high-resolution spectral imaging data to map OH/water, crustal composition, and thermophysical properties from a 100±30 km lunar polar orbit. The ∼210-kg flight system deploys from an ESPA Grande and utilizes a ∼1000 m/s ΔV hydrazine chemical propulsion system, similar to that employed by GRAIL. Trailblazing elements include the novel state-of-the-art dataset collected at substantially reduced price point, fully geographically co-registered data products delivered to the Planetary Data System, planetary mission team demographics, Caltech campus mission operations, and student staffing of select mission ops roles. Lunar Trailblazer's pioneering development is providing key lessons learned for future planetary small spacecraft.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription website
Ehlmann, Bethany L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Additional Information:© 2022 IEEE. We are grateful to the NASA HQ and PMPO offices and the entire team and staff contributing to the success of Lunar Trailblazer at Caltech, JPL, Lockheed, the University of Oxford, UKSA, and other partners. Lunar Trailblazer is funded at Caltech campus under NASA contract 80MSFC19C0042. A portion of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0019F0079). For more information, see and follow the mission at @lunartrailblazr.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220811-935540000
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:116247
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:15 Aug 2022 15:09
Last Modified:19 Oct 2022 20:52

Repository Staff Only: item control page