July 2013 Archives

LOIRP Status Report 30 July 2013

Dennis WIngo: Status, end of day 7-30-13: As I may have mentioned in the past, we have captured some lunar orbiter five images before this concentrated run. The Copernicus mosaic we did a few months ago, the Messier craters and some other images we had captured before.

So today I started with W5-051 and 052. Then we skipped all the way to W5-063. Then we skipped W5-064 and began again with 065. Today we have captured 12 tapes, going through W5-073. Tomorrow I will list the images but it takes a while to figure out from the paperwork.

Hopefully, if we can keep this pace up we will be over W5-100 on Friday and then we have another several tapes to skip! We won't know what we have to do with the Goldstone and Madrid tapes for LO-V until we are completely finished with Woomera. So, there you have it....

Status mid day 7-30-13: These are the images captured from the tapes run Saturday (2) and Monday (13). We made it through LOV-50 through the end of yesterday and with what we have run today we are more than 1/3rd the way through LOV Woomera tapes now.

W5-036, partial capture LOV-096H, 095H, complete image 094M
W5-037, partial capture LOV-099M, complete image 100H
W5-038, partial capture LOV-098M, complete image 099H
W5-039, complete capture LOV-103H
W5-040, complete capture LOV-101M, 102H, partial image 100M
W5-041, partial capture LOV-106H
W5-042, partial capture LOV-119H, 117M
W5-043, partial capture LOV-123M, complete capture 124H
W5-044, complete capture LOV-126H, 124M
W5-045, complete capture LOV-125H, 123M
W5-046, complete capture LOV-124H
W5-047, partial capture LOV-128M, complete capture 129H
W5-048, partial capture LOV-127M, complete capture 128H
W5-049, partial capture LOV-126M, 127H
W5-050, partial capture LOV-127H (completes image), partial capture 126H, complete image 125M

Today we have run several tapes but we are jumping sequence due to our having captured several tapes between W5-53-62. I need to verify all of them before we leave them behind though. Will report on our progress today at the end of the day. Looks like we will do about ten tapes today and get us up to W5-70, if everything holds together.

Venture Capitalist Steve Jurvetson Supports LOIRP

SN Profile: Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Space News

"Steve Jurvetson loves rockets. The well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist, who attended camp at NASA's Kennedy Space Center as a child, shares images of the rockets he launches in Nevada's Black Rock Desert on a Flickr Photostream. ... Jurvetson, who sits on the board of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, both founded by Elon Musk, also donates money to space-related organizations, including the B612 Foundation, a group preparing to map near-Earth asteroids, and the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, an effort to create a digital archive of data drawn from the analog tapes of Apollo missions."

Priority vs Final Readout of Lunar Orbiter Images

Dennis WIngo: This image (click on image to enlarge) shows the sequence of images that were read out during what is termed "priority" readout vs the "final readout". The priority readout was an opportunistic scanning of processed photos on the lunar orbiter before all of the images were taken. The photo process with the 70mm film began with an image being simultaneously taken by the 610 mm high resolution camera and by the 80 mm medium resolution camera. In a process remarkably similar to the old polaroid dry process instamatic cameras, the film was dry processed by a "bimat" dry processor. The bimat would separate from the film (most of the time) but would sometimes due to the timing would leave artifacts on the image, which are readily identified on the film.

The film would then be fed into the readout looper where it could be scanned and the images sent back to the Earth. During the mission when photographs were still being taken the film would run one direction through the looper. After all of the images were taken a command would be sent to cut the bimat and then the film could be read in the opposite direction.

Thus when we start with a low numbered tape, the first images that come off are from the priority readout in ascending order. However, the ascending order is not linear, jumping because images are still being taken and the film advancing while the spacecraft cannot transmit. The image of the day today shows what images are taken in ascending sequence (orbit) format. You can see the jumps. If you are really good you can see what images we are recording and then predict what the next images will be ... At least during the priority readout.

How Do We Find Lunar Orbiter Images?

Dennis Wingo: Several people were interested in our process yesterday so here is some more information on what we do to figure out the images on the tapes. [Click on image to enlarge].

We almost always start with the low numbered tapes and go up, just like in the real mission. As stated yesterday, we picked Woomera because it had the most ground station time. There is 163 tapes for the Woomera LO-V, more than 50-60 tapes than for the previous LO's. We think that there is some duplication there but we won't know until we get all of the Woomera tapes done, then process the raw framelets. Austin then generates a report based upon our knowledge of all of the framelets for LO-V, which then tells us what we have left to do. We then will start on the Goldstone tapes.

NASA Ames Academy Students Visit LOIRP

Dennis Wingo: NASA Ames Academy students and their parents visited the LOIRP in Bldg 596 (McMoons) at NASA Ames Research Park last week. Larger image.

LOIRP Status Report 22 July 2013

Dennis Wingo: We are running tape today. Here is a scan of a document that I am using to plan the sequence of tape runs. at the top of the page it shows the proportion of the time one ground station was in range of Lunar Orbiter V. Woomera had the majority of the time so we are starting with it. Then Goldstone, and then finally Madrid. There was some duplicate scans during the final readout that overlapped the priority readout data. Thus it is our hope that we will get most of our scans from Woomera and Goldstone and will have to run only a few Madrid tapes. Time will tell. Click on image to enlarge.

Apollo Pioneer David Christensen Visits McMoons

Dennis Wingo: Today we had a real treat. One of my mentors from Huntsville, David Christensen, one of the early members of the von Braun team in Huntsville, came by to visit LORIP today. Dave is one of my hero's and inspirations for what we are doing here at LORIP. Remember hearing that the Saturn V drawings were lost? Remember that years and years later the story came out that one guy saved them? That one guy was Dave. Dave also has an extensive library of Army Ballistic Missile Agency (Where Von Braun worked) information about the early Saturn designs, the redstone, and space stations.

Dave also has an extensive library of commercial space documentation and he was one of the inspirations for what was called Code C (Commercial) at NASA in the 1980s. Also, he is one of the nicest humans you ever want to meet! Take a look at this picture, can you believe he is 81? He is shown here with our student engineering intern Jacob Gold, bridging the generations of space engineers. The second picture was taken in 1958 and shows Ernst Stuhlinger, von Braun, Hermann Oberth and others seated. Dave is the second from the right standing. Dave published the world's first space age magazine devoted to telling the public about what was going on in space. One of the covers of "Space" is the third picture. Autographed by Oberth himself!

Video: Oscilloscope Trace of Lunar Orbiter Image Playback

Dennis Wingo: This is a two minute video that shows, about every 42 seconds, a shift in the video. This occurs when the line is scanned to the end of a framelet, over the calibration features that were pre recorded in the tape. Keith has posted images here that show the relationship between the scope trace and the dynamic range of the tapes. This gives us a qualitative measure of the performance of the tape drive. Even in its sub optimized state today, the scope trace almost exactly matches the original transfer function of the spacecraft film, thus giving us a means to evaluate the quality of the analog data derived from the tape.

LOIRP Status Report 15 July 2013

Dennis Wingo: We're going to get started today on LO-V tapes, slowly at first. Also, we have shipped, as of last Friday, all of our fulfillment for the Rockethub goodies, except for those that did not respond to our email asking for information that we need to complete the shipment. We still have 46 people that have not completed our requests for information. Before the last email it was 109 people, so we had about 60% response last time. I will post those email addresses here and I will send emails to each person and will post on rockethub. Those that do not respond after this time, we will close down the fulfillment. If in six months someone comes in we will of course try and get you your goodies.

LOIRP Article in the Explorers Club Journal

I just got a box of advance copies of the Summer 2013 issue of the Explorers Journal published by the Explorers Club. This issue contains my article on LOIRP: "A Digital Odyssey". I will try and get a copy posted soon. Larger image

LOIRP Status Report 11 July 2013

Dennis Wingo: Neulyn Moss gets the LOIRP Geek of the Month award for her dazzling ensemble that includes a picture of Buzz Aldrin descending to the surface of the Moon! -- with Neulyn Golden Moss. Larger image

Yesterday we found another tape that had some missing framelets and reran it, G2-080. After some wrap up tomorrow we are going to start running Lunar Orbiter V tapes on Monday! We are going to follow our path of running all of the Woomera tapes first. We have no idea how long our last head is going to hold out but we are going to run as much as we can!

LOIRP Status Report 6 July 2013

Dennis Wingo: Austin has been wrapping up the accounting of the captures from Lunar Orbiter II so that we can begin putting together the back end image reconstruction and to capture any frames or framelets that were gakked during capture. We had to recapture G2-061 and M2-019. These will be processed and the framelets entered into the database. If these are the last tapes then sometime this week we will begin captures of the Woomera tapes from LO-V.

The next steps are image reconstruction, then handing those images over to the folks at NLSI for integration into their online database. We are also starting to put together the image analysis to compare our LOII images with similar images taken by the LRO LROC camera to look for new craters. Our student Neulyn Moss has advanced her studies in college and is now starting to learn matlab so that we can do some automation of some of our previous more manual methods of cross referencing images. The new software by the Arizona State done by Mark Robinson's LROC team is going to be very helpful as well. The Quickmap software by their team is a very impressive piece of software for lunar data analysis. Have a look at http://target.lroc.asu.edu/q3/# I invite all of you who are interested in the Moon to play with their product.

Looks like Neulyn and I are going to be doing the Planetary Data System submittal when our student who volunteered got pulled into a lot more work at Ames and has little free time to help. This is all for now.

Lunar Orbiter Bugle (LO BUGL) October 27, 1966

"WELCOM FELLOW ORBITEERS

Thoughts of Mission B crowd out the memories of Mission A as we get back into the headset harness again and prepare ourselves for training and another successful mission. It's good to see so many of the "Old Pros" again and to recognize the high level of talent of many of our new team members. But even with all this talent Mission B doesn't look much like a picnic. Instead it looks like another challenge that will require our best efforts at all times."

Download full document

Keith Cowing: it was a common habit to refer to the Lunar Orbiter missions as being "A", "B" etc. as well as "1", "2" or "I", "II".

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