March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
This Laser Ranging Reflector was a qualification unit similar to the one placed on the lunar surface during the Apollo 15 mission. Smaller units were deployed by the Apollo 11 and Apollo 14 astronauts. The reflectors were designed to reflect incident light precisely back to its source regardless of the incident angle. Accurately timed pulses of laser light from various Earth stations were bounced off of the three separate arrays and the reflections were carefully recorded. The data from the three reflectors allowed scientists to improve knowledge of the complexities of the lunar motion and rotation.
This unit was stored by Bendix Aerospace until NASA transferred the object to the Smithsonian in 1982.
Transferred from the NASA - Johnson Space Center