Contact Information


For information regarding the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) contact:

Keith Cowing


The guys that took most of those lunar pictures are still around, and several of us, sometimes all 4 of the crew, have lunch together once a month. We are all retired now from Boeing. I was the lead on the camera control crew down at JPL for the first three missions. We fooled NASA into letting us take the Earth Set over the Lunar Horizon shot. When they saw it NASA went non linear...made a fold out cover on LIFE. NASA was rigid at first, no fooling around playing space papparazi, just do the vertical mapping stuff. However the film processing system required an occasional frame advance to keep from gumming up. We convinced NASA to let us take a few oblique photos then, not just waste some film. I think the first "condoned" oblique was that classic of the Copernicus Crater, followed by the Fauth oblique. After those shots hit the press, NASA was all gung ho on oblique photos. Did you guys find that stuff from the back side of the Moon. I think we photographed over 80% of the "never seen before" side. Our L.O. camera bunch certainly have lots of humorous stories about those missions...Interested? Cheers, Lee Helser (aka "Big Shutter" on the JPL mission control internet)

Thank you so much for your visionary and passionate project for protecting this amazing resource!! The world has no idea how historically valuable it is that your team came together to retrieve the data from these tapes. And thank you to Nancy for not cleaning out her garage!!

Way to go! We are forgetting technologies that have brougth us to the currently state.

Please keep working saving history for mankind.

Saludos desde México!

My father was a lead engineer for RCA aerospace (the camera end of the Ranger Series that preceded the Lunar Orbiter. Are photos from that series also going to be restored ?

I was working at Boeing in the Color lab after 3 years at Art Center College of Design in LA. The lab manager came over to me and said "your a good black and white printer, right?" I said: Yup! - He said: "Good, I have a special project I want to put you on." He put me, with 2 other guys - on printing up 5 books of the Lunar Orbiter Photos which went as follows I believe. 1. to the president of Boeing, 1 to Congress. 1 to the President, 1. Kodak.. and another one some where. These had to be perfect - the prints were 16 x20 or larger. Some were smaller.. If the prints were in any way not perfect - they were rejected - but we ended up with them. I still some of them.

The most interesting ones were the obliques, of course! Thanks you guys for taking them! And best of all were the ones of the earth rises! These were the first images of earth seen from space. I was fortunate to see them probably before almost any human. They inspired me and probably were largely responsible for my inspiring my best selling book: "The Home Planet"!

Later on I met Nancy Evans and Mark and tried to help them get some money from the Clementine project for this project - but was not successful. I am so glad to see that its has come to fruition. I am not surprised.. Nancy if nothing else is tenacious. (but be assured there is a whole lot of "else"!!)

Get Nancy to talk about how she found the last machines that could read the tapes when they were on a navy loading dock 3 hours away from being loaded onto a boat to be dumped in the great lakes. What it took to find the proper reading heads and what it took Mark to decipher the header code the tape header before they could be read and so on! Get her to tell you how Malin calmed he owned the project! :-)


Kevin W. Kelley
Author: The Home Planet

First off let me applaud your efforts in restoring the Lunar Orbiter images, it is a great service to the science community. My one one bone of contention is that all the articles written make it seem as if the images were hidden for 42 years. I have worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for over 20 years and have been closely involved with the NSSDC image archive. We have the most comprehensive collection of Lunar Orbiter 20x24 inch films in the world, and have been duplicating and distributing them form 1967 on. These images are of extremely high quality and have been used in Lunar research innumerable times. It would be nice if the availability of these images were made more apparent in your postings. NSSDC is NASA's archive for space science data. and will continue to have these images available.

Editor's note: I am not aware that I or anyone associated with the LOIRP has ever stated or implied in any way, shape, or form that the images were "hidden". Indeed, to the contrary, we make regular reference to existing images, provide links to them etc. so as to show the difference in resolution and that our images show greater detail than has been previously available. Go to this page and scroll down and you will see multiple references to existing images and comparisons. How could we do that if they were "hidden"?

The tapes were locked away and more or less forgotten for decades, but the images have been used non-stop since they arrived on Earth. LPI and USGS have nice collections that we reference - and indeed, we are actively working with them to synchronize our work.

To reiterate we have NEVER stated that the images were being "hidden".

Keith Cowing

I passed a pointer to the Watts UP item to a family friend that worked for Ampex–here is his reply:

Larry - Ampex, in Redwood City, has
shrunk considerably. I don’t know where
all of the “old” equipment and documents
are. My only contact with the company is
through Debbie Fuentes of Human
Resources. Her phone number is:
650-367-3013. You might try calling her
about locating some of the engineers that
worked on the different tape recorder
system that you are interested in. A
couple of names come to mind: Hal Wright
(mechanical engineer) and Ernie Sorenson
(electrical engineer). Debbie might know
how they may be contacted. Availability
of NASA technical publications can be
obtained from: National Aeronautics and
space Administration, Code ATU,
Washington, D.C. 20546. (1966 info)

Clay Hedman

I'm proud to say that my father was one of the engineers working on the Lunar Orbiter project. Specifically the camera subsystem.

He said the images were much better than those released in the 60s. Way to go guys.

I'm so glad to hear about this project! Thank you, guys, for all this hard work and both rescuing and restoring this valuable footage. My Dad (sadly deceased) worked with many of the moon photos at Defense Mapping and he was given some of them when he retired along with his old briefcase he used to carry some of the films and photos around in between the agencies. He would have been so thrilled to hear about and see what you are doing and the results of your work if he were here today! He earnestly believed in the value of moon exploration and research and hoped to make it there one day himself--at least he got as close as he did to being a part of it back then. Thank you again!

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