Lockheed Martin Donates Clean Room to the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project

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Lockheed Martin Corporation has donated the labor required to erect a class 10,000 clean room to the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP).  This clean room will help protect our refurbished 1960's era Ampex FR-900 tape drives from the environment inside NASA Ames Research Park Building 596 aka "McMoons", which was originally constructed to house a McDonalds restaurant.

In the 1960's these tape drives were operated in an old style computer room, with raised floors ultra-clean air, and constant air conditioning.  Since our building's air conditioning system was sized for the heat of the kitchen and lots of customers, we are able to maintain the temperature to near optimum conditions.  However, dust and dirt are still a problem with the finely tuned machine.  

One large dust particle could break a head tip if it went into it in the wrong direction.  As such, this 10 x 12 foot clean room will provide a more optimal environment for both of the tape drives.  

The clean room has a positive air pressure and heavy filtering of the air to reduce dust particles in the air.  The positive air pressure also helps to keep outside floor dirt from being sucked up in the fans that cool the machines.

The Lockheed Martin team who helped in the assembly of the portable clean room were Bob Allen, Lance Ellingson, Robert Phillips, and David Leskovsky.

"This generous gift from Lockheed Martin will help us to keep the our tape drives operating better in an environment similar to what they were designed for" said Dennis Wingo, LOIRP project lead.

The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is located at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA. Funding and support for this project has been provided by NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, Odyssey Moon LLC, SkyCorp Inc., and SpaceRef Interactive Inc.

For more information on the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) visit http://www.moonviews.com

For information on NASA's Lunar Science Institute visit http://lunarscience.arc.nasa.gov/

For information on NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate visit http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/

3 Comments

This is wonderful news! I've been following the story of these tapes for several months now and I know that a handful of people have gone to extraordinary efforts and personal sacrifice well above and beyond any call of duty to, first preserve these tapes from being erased many years ago, and then to preserve them and, ultimately, restore them. I'm sorry I do not have their names in front of me right now! I know there was one woman in particular who was chiefly responsible for saving these tapes. I hope someone else will help me here by supplying her name, so we can all thank her for this very great thing she has done.

That's very cool. Kudos to LockMart for not only donating the hardware, but for the guys to come over and help set it up! The project is getting some great data, and it's terrific to know its chance of completing the recovery has increased.

Awesome stuff Keith et al. Is it a goal of this project to ultimately recover all of this data and move it to a better long term medium ? If so I wonder if the Smithsonian Library might be interested in assisting, financially or otherwise. I can see data mining of this trove going on for decades....

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