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Destination Moon: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program

Bruce K. Byers, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. 1977, NASA TM X-3487 PDF HTML

"In June 1967, as a member of the NASA History Office Summer Seminar, I began work on a history of the Lunar Orbiter Program, then in its operational phase. My objective was to document the origins of the program and to record the activity of the missions in progress. I also wanted to study the technical and management aspects of the lunar orbital reconnaissance that would provide the Apollo Program with photographic and selenodetic data for evaluating the proposed astronaut landing sites."

Atlas and Gazetteer of the Near Side of the Moon

NASA SP-241, Gutschewski, G. L.; Kinsler, D. C.; Whitaker, E., NASA SP-241, 1971

Download document (190 MB PDF)

This atlas and gazetteer is a photographic and tabular compilation of named lunar features appearing on the near side side of the Moon. To provide an easy method of locating lunar features in the atlas, the names have been annotated on the photographs, which are accompanied by locational data regarding the named features.

Five indices comprising he gazetteer are provided for appropriate cross-referencing of the high resolution rbiter IV photography and the mediaum-resolution photgraphy onbtained from the other orbiter missions.

Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon

By David E. Bowker and J. Kenrick Hughes, NASA SP-206, 1970

Download document (12 MB PDF) Online version (LPI)

During 1966 and 1967 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched five Lunar Orbiter spacecraft to obtain photographs from orbit of the surface of the Moon. The reconstructed photographs and support data are now on file at the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC), Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The purpose of this Atlas is to present a selection of these photographs which provides essentially complete coverage of the near side and far side of the Moon in greater detail than any publication now in existence.

The Moon as Viewed by Lunar Orbiter

By L. J. Kosofsky and Farouk El-Baz, NASA SP-200, 1970

Download document (297 MB PDF)

THE PROGRAM

The Lunar Orbiter program was conceived, together with the Ranger and Surveyor programs, with the primary objective of providing information essential for a successful manned Apollo lunar landing. The Lunar Orbiter program comprised five missions, all of which were successful. As the primary objectives for the Apollo program were essentially accomplished on completion of the third mission, the fourth and fifth missions were devoted largely to broader, scientific objectivesphotography of the entire lunar nearside during Mission IV and photography of 36 areas of particular scientific interest on the nearside during Mission V. Photography of the farside during the five missions resulted in an accumulated coverage of more than 99 percent of that hemisphere. The detail visible in the farside coverage generally exceeds that previously attained by Earth-based photographs of the nearside; in some areas objects as small as 30 meters are detectable.

Initiated in early 1964, the Lunar Orbiter program included the design, development, and utilization of a complex automated spacecraft technology to support the acquisition of detailed photographs of the lunar surface from circumlunar orbit. The five spacecraft were launched at 3-month intervals between August 10, 1966, and August 1, 1967.

In addition to its photographic accomplishments, the program provided information on the size and shape of the Moon and the major irregularities of its gravitational field. This selenodetic information was derived from the tracking data. Micrometeoroid and radiation detectors, mounted on the spacecraft for operational purposes, monitored those aspects of the lunar environment.

Guide to Lunar Orbiter Photographs

Thomas P. Hansen, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
NASA SP-242

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The Lunar Orbiter program initiated in early 1964 consisted of the investigation of the Moon by five identical unmanned spacecraft. Its primary objective was to obtain detailed photographs of the Moon. This document presents information on the location and coverage of all Lunar Orbiter photographs and is one in a series of four NASA Special Publications documenting Lunar Orbiter photography. The others are references 1 to 3. Reference 1 contains 675 photographic plates and provides coverage of the complete Moon with more detail than any other publication. Reference 2 is a collection of approximately 180 selected photographs and portions thereof at enlarged scale, and includes captions for each photograph. Reference 3 shows each named feature on the near side on annotated highresolution frames from mission IV. It also includes (1) an alphabetical index of features, (2) cross-indexes between listings in the catalog of the University of Arizona and the catalog of the International Astronomical Union which was published in 1935, and (3) listings of named lunar features on the near side covered during missions I, 11, 111, and V, and their photograph numbers.

Lunar Orbiter Photographic and Supporting Data

NSSDC 71-13 May 1971

Download document (25 MB PDF)

This document contains photographic supporting data for Lunar Orbiters 1 through 5. These data, which were compiled by the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC), are necessary for the interpretation and analysis of high- and medium-resolution Lunar Qrbiter'photographs. This document describes and presents the NSSDC Lunar Orbiter Photographic supporting Data printouts. Definitions of the elements of the data base, and the search capabilities of the NSSDC system used to produce these and other printouts are also included.

Data User's Note: Lunar Orbiter Photographic Data

NSSDC 69-05, Beeler and Michlovitz, June 1969

Download document (2.7 MB PDF)

The primary purpose of this Data User's Note is to announce the availability of Lunar Orbiter 1-5 pictorial data and to aid the investigator in the selection of Lunar Orbiter photographs for study. In addition, this Note can give some guidance to the interpretation of the pictures. As background information, the Note includes a breif description of the mission objectives and the photographic subsystem. The National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) can provide all forms of photographs described in the section on Format of Available Data. It is recommended however, that the user frst order the 35-mm film to facilitate selection of those frames for which high-quality reproductions are needed.

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