February 1967 Archives

Lunar Orbiter 4 Mission

Alternate Names: Lunar Orbiter-D, 02772
Launch Date: 1967-05-04
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 4
Experiments on Lunar Orbiter 4
Data collections from Lunar Orbiter 4

Description

Lunar Orbiter 4 was designed to take advantage of the fact that the three previous Lunar Orbiters had completed the required needs for Apollo mapping and site selection. It was given a more general objective, to "perform a broad systematic photographic survey of lunar surface features in order to increase the scientific knowledge of their nature, origin, and processes, and to serve as a basis for selecting sites for more detailed scientific study by subsequent orbital and landing missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near polar high lunar orbit for data acquisition. The orbit was 2706 km x 6111 km with an inclination of 85.5 degrees and a period of 12 hours.

Lunar Orbiter 3 Mission

Alternate Names: Lunar Orbiter-C, 02666
Launch Date: 1967-02-05
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 3
Experiments on Lunar Orbiter 3
Data collections from Lunar Orbiter 3

Description

The Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft was designed primarily to photograph areas of the lunar surface for confirmation 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 a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial lunar orbit on 8 February at 21:54 UT. The orbit was 210.2 km x 1801.9 km with an inclination of 20.9 degrees and a period of 3 hours 25 minutes. After four days (25 orbits) of tracking the orbit was changed to 55 km x 1847 km. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from February 15 to 23, 1967, and readout occurred through March 2, 1967. The film advance mechanism showed erratic behavior during this period resulting in a decision to begin readout of the frames earlier than planned. The frames were read out successfully until 4 March when the film advance motor burned out, leaving about 25% of the frames on the takeup reel, unable to be read.

Lunar Orbiter 3 Postal Covers

Photo: Lunar Orbiter III Prepared for Launch From Complex 13

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