January 2014 Archives

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 31 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, January 31, 2014.

Another productive day. Started out with W1-030 and ended with W1-049. That puts us more than half way through Woomera for LO-I!

We are going to have a couple of big surprises for you next week...

Here are the tapes done today and the images captured...

W1-030, complete capture LOI-189M
W1-031, complete capture LOI-190M
W1-032, complete capture LOI-178M
W1-033, complete capture LOI-177M
W1-034, complete capture LOI-175M
W1-035, complete capture LOI-176M
W1-036, complete capture LOI-162M
W1-037, complete capture LOI-161M, partial capture 160M
W1-038, partial capture LOI-160M completes image, complete capture 159M
W1-039, complete capture LOI-158M
W1-040, complete capture LOI-148M
W1-041, complete capture LOI-147M
W1-042, complete capture LOI-146M
W1-043, complete capture LOI-145M
W1-044, partial capture LOI-144M (completes images with W1-018)
W1-045, complete capture LOI-131M
W1-046, complete capture LOI-130M
W1-047, complete capture LOI-129M
W1-048, complete capture LOI-128M
W1-049, complete capture LOI-117M

Quite a run of tapes today, twenty in all! If I can do this every day, which is what I was hoping to be able to do, I can finish the Woomera captures and start on Goldstone this coming week.

The remaining tape count today is 238...

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 30 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, January 30, 2014, end of day.

Been a good day today! Finishing up tape W1-029 right now. This makes 16 tapes today. I finally figured out a system when capturing the medium resolution images and verifying that we are not missing a good high res image. I also figured out how to keep track of the frame lets for each medium res image and a way to enter it into one of our spreadsheets in a way that will make Austin happy. Here are the tapes and images captured today.

W1-014, complete capture LOI-113M
W1-015, complete capture LOI-121M
W1-016, complete capture LOI-123M
W1-017, complete capture LOI-125M
W1-018, complete capture LOI-144M
W1-019, partial capture LOI-204M,205M
W1-020, complete capture LOI-206M
W1-021, complete capture LOI-205M
W1-022, complete capture LOI-204M
W1-023, complete capture LOI-203M
W1-024, complete capture LOI-202M
W1-025, complete capture LOI-201M
W1-026, complete capture LOI-194M
W1-027, complete capture LOI-193M
W1-028, complete capture LOI-192M
W1-029, partial capture LO1-191M, complete capture 190M

Dropping 16 tapes off the list brings us down to 259 tapes to go. If the good lord willing and the head holds out I can finish Woomera before the end of next week...

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 29 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, mid afternoon January 29, 2014

Just a short status as the LO-I tapes take a lot of time and effort.

Getting a handle on finding where the medium resolution image actually is on a tape. Not as easy as it could be as the document that we have used very successfully on the other missions does not exist for LO-I.

I am basically taking the sequence numbers from the tape and finding where that sequence number was captured and then noting the frame let numbers for a medium resolution image. After looking at the first frame let of the tape I can figure out where the medium resolution image is on the tape with some guessing and playback effort.

So far we are on W1-012 today.

This brings the total left to go down to 275.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 27 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, Monday January 27th 2014

Well, we have quasi completed Lunar Orbiter IV! I state it as quasi as we have found three additional tapes that will not play, no matter which head we use. It is our speculation that after a head was changed at the Madrid ground station that tapes M4-(53-55) somehow had a bad calibration that ended up with a bad recording. We speculate on this as tape M4-056 works just fine and there is no way that if the problem was related to an old vs new head that this would have happened.

Anyway we played tapes M4-(57-60) and tapes M4-(66-79) today. We are missing tapes 80 and 81 so we are done, that is until cleanup after we finish LO-I. We still want to go back and try these tapes again but for now we are done with LO-IV!

The tapes from 66-79 were all from the bad part of the spacecraft downlink where they were having problems so we did not get too much good stuff there, other than some gap filling to flesh out some missing frame lets in medium resolution images. I will put out the tapes vs images in a follow on post.

Here is an image of the first tape from Lunar Orbiter 1 sitting on the FR-900! Away we go!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 24 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status end of day, January 24, 2014

Made good progress today, made it through M4-110 then backed up and started with M4-061. Made it through M4-065 at the end of the day.

This gets us down to 310 tapes to go!

(We are going to have a last tape party when we get to the end of the road here).

Dennis Wingo Status, afternoon January 24, 2014

I forgot to put out a status yesterday as I had to run out to San Francisco to a meet up yesterday.

Yesterday we made it through M4-102 and things look pretty good today as I am through M4-109 (slept through rush hour this morning after a late night last night). I am running M4-110 now and after my capture of M4-111 last week this finishes the numerical series. However, we still have M4-53 through M4-079 to complete.

Some bad news is that we are missing two additional Madrid tapes from LO-IV, M4-080 and M4-081. This brings us to a total of six LO-IV Madrid tapes that are missing and this is by far the most missing tapes that we have for any mission. Very sad about this as we are getting some really nice images, as we see with the honor of the Wired image of the day today for LO-IV-123M!

I should have time today to go back and see how many in the 53-79 series that I can get. Another annoyance is that most of the tapes I have today are from the two pages that are missing from the table from the book we just got so I can't even tell you what images we have from today's captures. Here is what we got yesterday.

M4-094, complete capture LOIV-163M, partial capture 164H
M4-095, partial capture LOIV-164H (completes image), complete capture 162M, 163H
M4-096, not needed, duplicate capture of G4-082
M4-097, partial capture LOIV-143H (completes image with overlap of tape W4-097)
M4-098, complete capture LOIV-141M, 142H (141M is a blank image)
M4-099, complete capture LOIV-140M (skipped 141H as it is blank)
M4-100, complete capture LOIV-139M, 140H
M4-101, complete capture LOIV-138M, partial capture 139H
M4-102, partial capture LOIV-139H (completes image), complete capture 137M, 138H
M4-103, complete capture LOIV-136M, 137H
M4-104, complete capture LOIV-135M, 136H, 134M

That's all that I have data on.....

Lunar Orbiter IV Earthrise is Wired's Space Photo of the Day

Adam Mann (@adamspacemann) at @wiredspacephoto and @wiredscience was nice enough to tweet a link to our Lunar Orbiter IV earthrise image to over a million followers as the WIred's Space Photo of the day - thanks, Adam!

Space Artist Don Davis Re-imagines Lunar Orbiter IV Earthrise

Don Davis via Facebook: "A Lunar Orbiter photo given new life by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP). This was taken by the Lunar Orbiter IV large format film camera's wide angle lens (in black and white) on May 19, 1967. The digitally recovered photo data is significantly better than previously available material. I have done a quick colorization and minor cleanup of this image."

Click on image to enlarge.

See: Another Lunar Orbiter Earthrise Retrieved and Enhanced for more information on the recent recovery and enhancement of this image.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 22 January 2014

Dennis Wingo: Status, afternoon January 22nd, 2014

It's Alive.......

Looks like we are able to move forward. The head that we are currently using is still functioning. Today I have captured M4-082 through 090 which is on the machine now. If things continue going I will get through at least M4-092 today.

It must be noted that I skipped M5-53 to M4-081. The head that was replaced on the Madrid machine 46 years ago won't work with our worn head, but by the time we reached tape M4-082 the head wear was such that we could lock up on the signal.

It is my plan to proceed through to finish out the tapes and by then we will have another head that is currently being repaired (not refurbished) by Videomagnetics. If that head works we will be able to finish LO-IV and start immediately on LO-1.

If we get the tapes done today that I think we will we will have 333 tapes to go by the end of the day!

Dennis Wingo: Update, Wednesday late afternoon, January 22nd, 2014

We got the Lunar Orbiter photography book yesterday, sans to critical pages in the table that we use for matching the sequences to the tapes. However, I can still provide the data for the tapes that we are running today in the form that we did for Lunar Orbiter II, III, and V.

Tapes for Today

M4-082, partial capture LOIV-195H, complete capture 193M, 194H
M4-083, complete capture LOIV-192M, 193H, partial capture 191M
M4-084, partial capture LOIV-191M (completes image), complete capture 192H
M4-085, complete capture LOIV-190M, 191H
M4-086, complete capture LOIV-189M, partial capture 190H (completes image with framelets from G4-072)
M4-087, partial capture LOI-171M (completes image with frame lets from W4-087)
M4-088, Complete capture LOIV-169M, 170H
M4-088, Complete capture LOIV-168M, 169H
M4-089, Complete capture LOIV-167M, 168H
M4-090, Complete capture LOIV-166M, partial capture 167H
M4-091, Complete capture LOIV-165M, 166H
M4-092, Complete capture LOIV, 164M, 165H, partial capture 167H (completes image)
M4-093, Complete capture LOIV-164M, 165H (next tape up)

If we get through all of these tapes (M4-092 is running now), we will have 332 tapes to go!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 21 January 2014

Dennis Wingo: Status, afternoon January 21, 2014

It's dead Jim....

The head that is on the FR-900 right now has been running for about 150 hours. It's tip projection is below the recommended minimum for the lunar orbiter tapes. When the Madrid ground station changed their head after M4-52 the machine quit working. After much pain and suffering and scratching of heads Ken and Terry Smith, another old hand figured out that as the tip's wear down the velocity changes ((pi*r^2)). Due to the fact that the Lunar Orbiter tapes have a signal that must be demodulated accurate to one hertz, this presents a problem. We have quasi proved this by taking tape M4-111, the last tape for Madrid, putting it on the machine, and adjusting the tip penetration out as far as it will go. That tape is playing back.

However......

This won't work for all of the tapes and thus I will now work backward from M4-111 to see how many I can get done....

As captain Taggart would say...

Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Another Lunar Orbiter Earthrise Retrieved and Enhanced

On the left is a newly-recovered and enhanced image of the Earth and Moon taken by Lunar Orbiter IV on 19 May 1967. On the right is how the image has looked in NASA's records - until now. (Click on image to enlarge)

The other day, as we were going through tapes from Lunar Orbiter IV we came across a picture of the Earth and the Moon - one that was not instantly familiar to us. This image is not included in the LPI Lunar Orbiter IV image gallery but is listed in this document at LPI (click on text below to enlarge),

According to this entry at NSSDC: "Lunar Orbiter 4 photograph showing a crescent Earth and partly illuminated Moon. The lunar sunset terminator is at 140 E and runs through the large dark-floored crater Tsiolkovsky, about 240 km diameter towards the bottom of the Moon. The part of the Moon visible in this image is the western far side. North is at 1:00. The frame has been turned upside down to give the correct orientation. (Lunar Orbiter 4, frame M-123)"

Location & Time Information
Date/Time (UT): 1967-05-19 T 23:27:54
Distance/Range (km): 6151
Central Latitude/Longitude (deg): +1.13/168.38
Orbit(s): N/A

This is what the public and researchers have seen for the past 47 years (click on image to enlarge). Note that the Earth is over exposed and there is the pronounced characteristic stripping (showing individual framelets) on the lunar surface.

So we downloaded the image and set our imagery genius Austin Epps to work on the image.

The image on the left is output of our usual assembly program (click on image to enlarge). The image on the right is the result after some additional filtering to suppress the overexposure issues that Lunar Orbiter IV was having (click on image to enlarge). There is still some striping as you can see - and addressing that in very high contrast images like this one takes some additional work.

In this image Earth's limb and terminator have been sharpened and Rousseau markers (as well as other film/readout noise) have been removed from black areas of the image.  Some additinal filtering was applied to the Moon for additional destriping. Click on the image for a larger view.

High resolution image (700 mb TIFF) at NASA SSERVI

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 17 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, end of day, Friday January 17, 2014

We completed Madrid tape M4-052 yesterday, which gets us almost half way through the Madrid captures... That's the good news.

The bad news is that the ground station changed heads yesterday and now our head is not working. It was at the end of the day and we will figure out what the changes were on Monday.

It's always something!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 16 January 2014

Dennis Wingo: Status, near end of day, January 16, 2014.

A very good day today. Came in early today and with several of the blank images that we have seen in the other ground station tapes, we have been able to get through a lot of tapes. AT the end of the day today we will finish M4-033! Running M4-032 now and will do one more before I leave.

That is 23 tapes today, bringing the number of tapes to go down to 346!

Just as an FYI we have 110 Madrid tapes so that is 67 (edit: miscount--- 77 to go) tapes to go to finish out Lunar Orbiter IV.

If everything holds out, we may finish Lunar Orbiter IV by next Friday. Then on to the final Orbiter, Lunar Orbiter 1!

Two interesting photo's today. The first is from a guy named Leo and he says hi to everyone from 1966. That was written on the inside of the cover of one of the tapes from Goldstone. The second is the stack of Lunar Orbiter IV tapes that are completed. They are ten high except for a couple stacks so you can figure out for yourselves how many we have done!'

Click on images to enlarge.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 15 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, end of day, January 15, 2014

Well we finished Goldstone and got a good start on Madrid today. As expected there are more head clogs and there are several blank or fogged images in the beginning.

We made it through M4-009 today. That is six more tapes since the last report earlier today, bringing the number of tapes remaining down to 369!

Can you tell I am thrilled to get to this point?

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 14 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, late day, Tuesday January 14, 2014.

Came in early today and started on G4-081. Am just finishing up on G4-093. Almost all of the captures today were very long, over 40 minutes and some almost an hour. Captured several hundred gigabytes of images.

The count is now 385 tapes to go!

(Good lord willing and the head holds out of course)

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 13 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status Status, mid afternoon, Monday January 13, 2014

Things are going pretty good today. We are finally past the point where they were having problems with the spacecraft stopping the image scans. This makes it really hard on us as their fix kept backing up the film, leading to a completely screwed sequence of image scans.

Fortunately I will have the Lunar Orbiter Photography document in my hands in the next few days (it was shipped Jan 7) and can figure out what was going on.

We are currently scanning LOV-G4-076, which puts us at 11 tapes so far today. I am coming in early so that I can get more done per day right now. This puts the remaining tapes at 401! Hopefully I will get at least three more done today, bringing us down to 398!

Dennis Wingo Status, evening, Monday January 13, 2014.

Well I got through G4-080 today. This puts us at 397 tapes to go!

Lots of good captures today. The Goldstone captures end at G4-101 so we have 21 more Goldstone tapes to go. Hopefully finish by mid day Wed and can start on Madrid!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 10 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, end of Day, January 10, 2014.

I have reached my goal today of getting through G4-065. Lots of problems with the spacecraft (not the tape drive) so the captures have been not all that productive.

412 tapes to go!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 9 January 2014

End of day status, January 9, 2014.

We made it through G4-051 today, though the problem with the rotary transformer dragging continues to reoccur. However, we just found that if we put our finger on one of the switching relays for read/write that are on the head assembly and push gently, the problem goes away. This is good in that we know that there is a mechanical problem NOT associated with the bearings. Much easier to fix or just deal with as replacing the bearings is a far more difficult task.

So, we are half way through Lunar Orbiter IV!

426 tapes to go!

Status update, early afternoon, January 9, 2014

So far so good! Got 038, and 041 rerun and am now running G4-046. Still wanna hit that half way mark today! Right now we are at 431 tapes to go!

Status update, late morning, Jaunary 9, 2014

Well, yesterday was a challenging day. Some tapes worked just fine some had the problem with the head dragging. Kenneth Zin kept readjusting things and it looks like this morning things are running well. Only got through G4-042 yesterday and it looks like I am going to have to rerun G4-038 and G4-041. Grrr, I hate backpacking!

Hopefully today we will get through G4-051. When we hit that milestone we will cross the halfway point for Lunar Orbiter IV!

Austin reminds me that our productivity is at an all time high but I am just obsessed in getting this done now so am spending all of my time running tapes. We are probably closing in if not already passing, the 100,000 frame let point!

Remembering Surveyor 7

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 8 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status update, late morning, January 8, 2014

Well we are back in the saddle again! Have run two tapes with the head that we though was having bearing problems with no trouble.

The way these heads work is that you have four head tips mounted at 90.00 degrees angle from each other on a rotary drum. The drum with the tips rotates against the tape at 15,000 rpm. The tape is moving by at 12.5 inches per second and thus a relationship between the two is fixed. Any drag on the head or slowing down or speeding up of the tape transport throws this timing off. Since we are dealing with RF signals in the Mhz range, timing is everything.

The magnetic flux is converted into a current at the tips and the windings on the tip. The current is transferred from the rotary drum to what is called a rotary transformer as you cannot have a wire carrying signal from the rotating drum to the fixed head assembly. There are several mechanical parts that have to fit together very closely, yet not rub against each other in order for this to work. What we were getting yesterday was a drag of the rotary part against the fixed part of the head. It was extremely subtle, slowing the head down just a bit, but you could hear the sound.

Ken Zin spent a lot of time checking adjustments and he readjusted the relationship between the mechanical parts and now the head is working fine. This goes to show just how important it is to have someone with a lot of experience in this field working on the project.

We are through tape G4-035 today and current G4-036 is running. This means we are down to 441 tapes to go!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 7 January 2014

Dennis Wingo end of day Tuesday January 7, 2014

Did I say if the machine cooperates? Looks like we may have a bearing problem in the head that is on the machine right now..... We may have to send it and another head back to Videomagnetics to swap the drum (which holds the head tips) from one to another.

We have another head that has problems that we may be able to get adjusted. Videomagnetics has graciously sent us tools to do the very delicate work to adjust the tip orientation on the heads. It is an extremely difficult task.

We made it through tape G4-033 today but G4-034 just looks like crap as the bearings do a momentary thing where the head slows down and we lose synchronization with the rest of the mechanics....

Status update, mid morning January 7, 2014

Lots of progress yesterday, though much of it for not good reasons. Last Friday we completed the Woomera captures and got the first two Goldstone tapes (G4-001,002) captured. Yesterday we made it all the way through G4-027! That's the good news. The bad news is that only 11 tapes had usable image data. There are a couple of reasons for this. The story is that a thermal door did not shut completely when commanded, allowing stray light into the spacecraft.

This was eventually fixed with a work around, but many images were lost or too fogged to be of any use. You can see this in some of the gaps in LO-IV images and coverage of the Moon. I had always wondered why there were no images of the southern region of the Moon near the South Pole Atkien basin. Now I know.

Today we are already running and am currently capturing G4-030. If the machine continues to operate smoothly (always a caveat on that one), then by Friday I should get to between G4-70 and G4-80. I am coming in extra time and I hope to push this to get all the way through Goldstone, but that is my stretch goal.

We will see!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 4 January 2014

Dennis Wingo end of day Thursday January 3, 2014

Well things have gone pretty good today. Started out with W4-096 and am currently running the last Lunar Orbiter IV Woomera tape! The last tape is W4-107 but I skipped W4-102 because of some problems with the control track. It messed up a few frame lets but there is an analog copy of the tape that we can get the missed frame lets from.

If this tape finishes soon we will go ahead and reconfigure the machine to run Lunar Orbiter IV Goldstone tapes and try to run at least one today.

This reduces the number of tapes remaining today down to 477 or less. The countdown is underway!

Remember that the last 280 tapes will go really fast as these are Lunar Orbiter 1 tapes and we only capture the medium res images for the most part.

We recalibrated the FR-900 to run Goldstone tapes late today. This has to happen as in the 1960s no two machines are exactly alike and even though they are supposedly calibrated in the same way, the electronics were not good enough for them to have exactly the same calibration.

Ran two Goldstone tapes, G4-001 and G4-002 with G4-002 overlapping W4-001 for most of the tape. Thus again, like the LO-V tapes the overlaps will not be duplicate captured and thus the number of tapes to run is actually less than the physical number of tapes we have. We are down to 475 tapes to go!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 2 January 2014

Dennis Wingo end of day Thursday January 2, 2014

2014 what the hell happened, last thing I remember it was 1978!

Anyway, running tapes today. I came in on New Years Eve and made it through W4-085 and today I will finish with W4-095. Every tape was a looong capture. We have had some mechanical problems with the drive with bearings starting to wear out so had to replace an idler arm this morning and the entire Capstan drive motor on New Years eve. We have some new bearings ordered for the idler arm as all of the ones we have are kinda crappy now.

Glad that we originally had enough motors refurbished for two machines. We never really got both machines and demodulators working at the same time so the second machine is turning into a parts donor to keep this one running at peak efficiency.

As of today we have less than 500 total tapes to go, 489 to be exact. That is both Lunar Orbiter IV and Lunar Orbiter 1 tapes together. That is a major milestone for the project. If things go well tomorrow we will complete the captures for Lunar Orbiter IV Woomera tapes and will at least get the machine recalibrated for Goldstone.

Onward and upward!

LOIRP
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