August 1966 Archives

Lunar Orbiter I Mission

The Lunar Orbiter 1 robotic (unmanned) spacecraft, part of the Lunar Orbiter Program, was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data.

The spacecraft was placed in an Earth parking orbit on August 10, 1966 at 19:31 (UTC). The Trans lunar injection burn occurred at 20:04 (UTC). The spacecraft experienced a temporary failure of the Canopus star tracker (probably due to stray sunlight) and overheating during its cruise to the Moon. The star tracker problem was resolved by navigating using the Moon as a reference and the overheating was abated by orienting the spacecraft 36 degrees off-Sun to lower the temperature.

Lunar Orbiter 1 Mission

Alternate Names: Lunar Orbiter-A, 02394
Launch Date: 1966-08-10
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Agena D
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 385.6 kg
Nominal Power: 375.0 W
Launch/Orbital information for Lunar Orbiter 1
Experiments on Lunar Orbiter 1
Data collections from Lunar Orbiter 1

Description

The Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in an Earth parking orbit on 10 August 1966 at 19:31 UT and injected into a cislunar trajectory at 20:04 UT. The spacecraft experienced a temporary failure of the Canopus star tracker (probably due to stray sunlight) and overheating during its cruise to the Moon. The star tracker problem was resolved by navigating using the Moon as a reference and the overheating was abated by orienting the spacecraft 36 degrees off-Sun to lower the temperature.

NASA Wire Photo: Earthrise As Seen By Lunar Orbiter 1

NASA Caption: "First view of the earth and moon from space. Published in: Spaceflight Revolution: Langley Research Center From Sputnik to Apollo, by James R. Hansen. NASA History Series. NASA SP ; 4308. p ii. Caption: "The picture of the century was this first view of the earth from space. Lunar Orbiter I took the photo on 23 August 1966 on its 16th orbit just before it passed behind the moon. The photo also provided a spectacular dimensional view of the lunar surface." Larger image

Lunar Orbiter 1 Image Release

Wire Photo Illustration of Lunar Orbiter 1 Photo Process

Lunar Orbiter Typical Flight Sequence of Events

Larger image

Lunar Orbiter's "Typical Flight sequence of Events" turned out to be quite typical indeed, as all five spacecraft performed exactly as planned. Published in James R. Hansen, Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center From Sputnik to Apollo, (Washington: NASA, 1995), p. 340.

Lunar Orbiter 1 Postal Covers

Video; Lunar Orbiter 1 Launch

British Pathe: "L.S. Atlas Agena carrying Lunar Orbiter blasts off from Cape Kennedy (no tilt). L.S. Rocket in flight. Various animated shots showing Lunar Orbiters path and function on its journey round the moon. Various shots at deep space tracking station, California, as they lock onto Orbiter."

Photo: Liftoff of Lunar Orbiter I on 10 August 1966

Photo: Lunar Orbiter Model at NASA JPL

Larger image

"Photographed on 08/01/66. -- Lunar Orbiter press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A mockup of the solar-powered spacecraft (called the "Two-Eyed Robot") is shown on the right."

Photo: Lunar Orbiter Press Conference at JPL

NASA Caption: "Lunar Orbiter press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A mockup of the solar-powered spacecraft (called the "Two-Eyed Robot") is shown on the right. It was built by Boeing for the NASA Langley Research Center. From Edgar M. Cortright, "Scouting the Moon" in Apollo Expeditions to the Moon: "It was in its photo system that Orbiter was most unconventional. Other spacecraft took TV images and sent them back to Earth as electrical signals. Orbiter took photographs, developed them on board, and then scanned them with a special photoelectric system--a method that, for all its complications and limitations, could produce images of exceptional quality. One Orbiter camera could resolve details as small as 3 feet from an altitude of 30 nautical miles. A sample complication exacted by this performance: because slow film had to be used (because of risk of radiation fogging), slow shutter speeds were also needed. This meant that, to prevent blurring from spacecraft motion, a velocity-height sensor had to insure that the film was moved a tiny, precise, and compensatory amount during the instant of exposure." Published in Edgar M. Cortright, "Scouting the Moon, " in Apollo Expeditions to the Moon, ed. Edgar M. Cortright, (Washington: NASA SP-350, 1975), p. 93." Larger image

LOIRP
- About
- Contact

Categories

 

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon's Resources
Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon's Resources

The Kaguya Lunar Atlas: The Moon in High Resolution
The Kaguya Lunar Atlas: The Moon in High Resolution

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission

Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Near Side of the Moon
Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Near Side of the Moon

The Far Side of the Moon: A Photographic Guide
The Far Side of the Moon: A Photographic Guide

The Clementine Atlas of the Moon
The Clementine Atlas of the Moon

The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration
The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration

Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences
Voices from the Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe Their Lunar Experiences

Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts
Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts

Space News
- Moon Today
- SpaceRef

Social Media
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Google+

MoonViews

Monthly Archives

PARTICIPANTS
- NASA SSERVI
- Skycorp
- SpaceRef
LUNAR ORBITER
- Overview
- LPI Image Archive
- Documents

LUNAR MISSIONS
Scientific
- Apollo
- ARTEMIS - Chandrayaan-1
- Chandrayaan-2
- Chang'e-1
- Chang'e-2
- Clementine
- GRAIL - Kaguya
- Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
- LCROSS
- Luna
- Lunakhod
- Lunar Prospector
- Ranger
- SMART-1
- Surveyor
- Zond

Visit the MoonViews store