Recently in Lunar Orbiter Category

High Resolution Lunar Orbiter Imagery Online at NASA SSERVI

A collection of high resolution images from Lunar Orbiters I - V retrieved by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) are now online at NASA's Solar System Research Virtual Institute. NASA will be updating this website periodically with new imagery.

1967 Audio Recording on First Anniversary of Lunar Orbiter 1 Launch

This recording was made on a Lunar Orbiter analog data tape in August 1967 on the first anniversary of the launch of Lunar Orbiter 1 in August 1966.

Lunar Orbiter Tracking Stations

Dennis Wingo: We often talk about the ground stations for Lunar Orbiter. Here is a chart that shows the coverage of the DSIF (Deep Space Instrumentation Facility) the precursor of the Deep Space Network (DSN). for Woomera, Goldstone, and Johannesburg. In 1965 when this graphic was created, the Madrid station was still under construction. You can see the overlap between Woomera and Goldstone quite clearly. Out to lunar distance the overlap is even greater. Larger image.

How Life Magazine Revealed "Earthrise" in 1966

The following two pages from the 9 September 1966 issue of Life magazine are how many people first saw the famous "earthrise" photo taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 less than two weeks earlier. The editors of Life sought to place the image in a context such that people could see what was actually in the picture. LOIRP has done similar analyses here and here. Due to the enhanced resolution of our images we were able to pin down the exact time and orientation of Earth a bit more accurately than was possible in 1966.

Click on images to enlarge.

LOIRP analysis in 2008

Boeing Planetary Probe Concept Based on Lunar Orbiter Design

"This is an artist's impression of how an unmanned would look as it neared Mars before going into a the planet. The Boeing Company has proposed building such a spacecraft, using technology developed during the successful Lunar Orbiter program. It would carry automatic equipment for taking, developing and sending back to Earth close-up photos of our neighboring planets. The spacecraft would operate in orbit for about a year and could be used on missions to Mars or Venus." Larger image.

Lunar Orbiter Model at Apollo 11 Press Center in Houston

A model of the Boeing-built Lunar Orbiter, which paved the way for the Apollo 11 mission with its close-up photos of the moon, looks down on a mockup of a lunar landscape at the press center in Houston. (Boeing photo). Larger Image.

Making the Lunar Orbiter Models

Our friend Andrew Filo of Special Projects from Cupertino, CA has the Lunar Orbiter models almost done for those who donated for the models as your prize. Thanks very kindly and they will be sent out in about a week. We are starting to get everything together for fulfillment of the items that you got for your donations. Looking forward to getting everything to you!

Lunar Orbiter's Classified Heritage

SAMOS To The Moon: The Clandestine Transfer of Reconnaissance Technology Between Federal Agencies, NRO

"Having acquired, launched, and then terminated work on a near real time imaging satellite, however, NRO officials at that time agreed to consign the SAMOS imaging system to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for use in its deep space exploration program. The surreptitious transfer of this technology, a fact just recently declassified, has remained unknown to many in the NRO and NASA because of the compartmented security measures then in place. It occurred in the following manner.

When in the summer of 1963 NASA requested proposals for a five flight Lunar Orbiter imaging satellite, the Eastman Kodak Company asked for and received permission from the NRO to join The Boeing Airplane Company and bid on the program. In the effort to meet NASA requirements, Eastman would modify its E-1 camera with an 80mm focal length Schneider-Xenotar lens and an off-the-shelf 24-inch telephoto lens procured from Pacific Optical. The two lenses would be bore sighted at the surface of the moon for a planned orbit of about 30 miles altitude. Light would pass through each lens to the film, but the simultaneous images were interspersed with other exposures, and not placed side by side. The camera employed the existing velocity over height sensor to regulate the speed of the focal plane shutter on the 24 inch lens and the between the lens shutter on the 80mm lens, which compensated for image motion. The Boeing Airplane Company, in turn, designed a solar-powered spacecraft stabilized in attitude on three axes that mounted other off-the-shelf hardware, and integrated it with the modified E-1 SAMOS payload."

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