Click on image to enlarge. Viewing through a quartz window in the side of the shell were a wide-angle 80 mm focal length, f/4.5 lens and a 610 mm focal length, f/5.6 narrow angle lens which would provide medium and high-resolution views of the lunar surface, respectively. 6 was removed from storage to begin preparations for its mission. Notably, the traveling wave tube amplifier (TWTA) of the high power transmitter used to return photographs back to Earth was replaced and modified by Boeing engineers to remove excess heat buildup more effectively. (NASA). Under the control of this unit, the photographic system could be programmed to take groups of four, eight, or sixteen photographs in a variety of patterns of selected sites during each orbital pass. Το Lunar Orbiter 3 είναι το τρίτο από τα πέντε συνολικά μη επανδρωμένα διαστημόπλοια του προγράμματος Lunar Orbiter που αναπτύχθηκε από την NASA κατά την διάρκεια της δεκαετίας του 1960. On April 12, 1967 the velocity control engine of Lunar Orbiter 3 was used to place the spacecraft into a 143 by 315 kilometer orbit in part to avoid prolonged periods of darkness during an upcoming lunar eclipse on April 24 (Lunar Orbiter 2, which was still on its extended mission, was likewise commanded to alter its orbit slightly for the same reason two days later). In order to avoid the ongoing issues with the development of the Atlas-Centaur that was to launch NASA’s one-ton Surveyor lunar lander being built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (see “Surveyor 1: America’s First Lunar Landing”), Lunar Orbiter was sized to use the then-new but readily available Atlas-Agena D rocket. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. 6 was mated to the launch vehicle at LC-13 on January 26, preflight checks were performed culminating in a successful countdown rehearsal on January 31. This knowledge would be essential for the pinpoint accuracy needed for the Apollo landing missions. After Spacecraft No. Five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched in 1966 through 1967 with the purpose of mapping the lunar surface before the Apollo landings. (NASA). (NASA). Lunar Orbiter was designed for a single task: orbit the Moon and take medium to high-resolution images of the lunar surface in order to identify and characterize potential Apollo landing sites located in a zone within five degrees of the equator and ranging from 45° E to 45° W longitude. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In further support of the Apollo program, Lunar Orbiter C would serve as a target for a test of the Manned Spaceflight Tracking Network. In addition to functional testing and repairs made to faulty or suspect systems, a number of modifications were also made in response to the problems uncovered during the previous mission. All five missions were successful, and 99% of the Moon was photographed with a resolution of 60 m or better. If time between imaging sessions permitted, photographs could be scanned shortly after they were developed as part of a priority readout sequence to verify system performance. Lunar Orbiter 3 was now in a 210 by 1,802 kilometer orbit with an inclination of 20.9° – not far from the nominal 200 by 1,850 kilometer initial orbit that was desired. Click on image to enlarge. Click on image to enlarge. Essentially, Lunar Orbiter C was considered a site reconnaissance mission unlike the earlier flights which were mapping missions. Otherwise, the photographs would all be scanned in the reverse order they were taken after all of the film had been exposed and transmitted back to Earth. With its photographic mission completed, Lunar Orbiter 3 proceeded with the next phase of its extended mission mapping the Moon’s gravitational field. One of them, designated Site 2, would eventually become the landing site of the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. A ten-watt S-band transmitter used this antenna to transmit the images back to Earth. /wp-content/uploads/2015/06/orbiter3-gallery-1.jpg. The latest variant of the Orbiter 3 STUAS is fitted with digital datalink, extended endurance of 7 hours and operational radius of 150 km. The underside of the equipment deck, which would normally face the Sun, was covered with a white thermal paint. All together, Lunar Orbiter C was scheduled to photograph 12 potential Apollo landing sites and 32 additional sites of scientific interest as secondary targets including the landing site of Surveyor 1. When the spacecraft was in shadow, power was provided by nickel-cadmium batteries recharged by the solar panels. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from February 15 to 23, 1967, and readout occurred through March 2, 1967. Click on image to enlarge. The Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. The recommended payload for Orbiter 3 UAVs is the T-STAMP tri-sensor stabilized EO payload (Day/Night), cooled) with laser pointer. The Orbiter 3 Small Tactical UAS (STUAS) combines an impressive performance envelope with extended operational coverage and radically reduced logistical footprint. Lunar photography started on the mission’s 44th orbit at 10:00:41 GMT on February 15, 1967 with the first primary target site being in Mare Tranquillitatis near the crater Maskelyne F. Initial readout of the first photographs starting the following orbit showed that they were of excellent quality. Kosofsky and Farouk El-Baz, The Moon as Viewed by Lunar Orbiter, NASA SP-200, 1970, Michael M. Mirabito, The Exploration of Outer Space with Cameras, McFarland, 1983, Andrew Wilson, Solar System Log, Janes Publishing, 1987, “Lunar Orbiter 3 Mission System Performance”, CR-66461, Boeing, August 11, 1967, Your email address will not be published. A nearly perfect performance by the Atlas SLV-3 resulted in the rocket’s sustainer engine shutting down just a fraction of a second later than planned 288 seconds after launch followed by the ignition of the Agena’s main engine. Accurate data were acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. Click on image to enlarge. Click on image to enlarge. Altogether the Orbiters returned 2180 high resolution and 882 medium resolution frames. With its job completed, Agena number 6632 separated from Lunar Orbiter 3 and performed a retro maneuver to deflect itself safely away from the spacecraft and the Moon. Diagram showing the early pre-mid-course orbit solutions for Lunar Orbiter 3 (marked “1102” and “1104”) compared to the desired aim point. The responsibility of finishing this important phase of the preparations for the Apollo lunar landing missions fell to Lunar Orbiter 3. At 21:38:38 GMT on February 8, 1967, Lunar Orbiter 3 started turning out of its cruise attitude and aligned its velocity control engine for lunar orbit insertion. Each image pair could be transmitted in 43 minutes when both the Earth tracking station and the Sun were visible. Orbiter 3 STUAS is designed to operate with, and support the higher tactical echelon, providing intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions with long endurance. The photographic subsystem was mounted on a 1.4-meter diameter equipment deck located at the base of the 2.0-meter tall, roughly conical-shaped spacecraft. Your email address will not be published. Based on Kodak’s previously classified reconnaissance satellite work for the Department of Defense, this subsystem was housed in an ellipsoidal aluminum alloy shell pressurized with dry nitrogen at 120 millibars. At 21:54:19 GMT, Lunar Orbiter’s engine ignited for a 542.5-second burn for a total delta-v of 704.3 meters per second. The Atlas-Agena D for the Lunar Orbiter C mission shown being prepared for launch from LC-13. For this maneuver, a plane change of 13° from the approach trajectory was required not only to get the final orbit inclination up to 21° but also properly align the orbit’s low point or perilune with respect to the mission’s target areas to begin the photography mission a week later. (NASA/LRC). After four days (25 orbits) of tracking the orbit was changed to 55 by 1,847 kilometres (34 mi × 1,148 mi). The configuration of the launch vehicle was essentially identical to those used on the previous two Lunar Orbiter missions save for new light weight engine boots used on the Atlas SLV-3. This would simulate Apollo’s standard “100-mile” lunar orbit for tracking exercises as well as allow for a more accurate mapping of the Moon’s gravitational field. 6. Eight nitrogen gas jets mounted at the top of the spacecraft provided attitude control. Subsequent attempts to restart the readout resulted in the inadvertent activation of the film advance motor causing it to stall and burnout. The higher inclination orbit would also allow the lumpy lunar gravitational field to be mapped more accurately aiding navigation of future lunar missions including Apollo. (NASA/Langley). The TWTA on Lunar Orbiter 2 unexpectedly failed during the final readout of that mission’s photographs and the change would lower the component’s temperature and increase its lifetime. Also mounted on this deck were a Canopus star sensor, five Sun sensors, and an inertial reference unit all used to determine Lunar Orbiter’s attitude to an accuracy of ±0.2°. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. 6 was selected for launch scheduled for the evening of February 2, local time. This unit housed the velocity control engine used to place Lunar Orbiter in orbit as well as trim that orbit once there. The system is operated and controlled by the Aeronautics proprietary Multi Operation Aerial Vehicle (MOAV) software, an advanced interface developed in-house. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial lunar orbit on February 8 at 21:54 UT. The process was similar to that employed by Polaroid instant cameras of that era. Mounted on an open truss frame above the equipment deck was the upper structural module. The frames were read out successfully until March 4 when the film advance motor burned out, leaving about 25% of the frames on the takeup reel, unable to be read. By monitoring the orbital changes of the spacecraft, the mass distribution of the Moon could also be mapped. With the first three Lunar Orbiters succeeding in meeting the program’s main objective of mapping potential Apollo landing sites, the final two missions were now free to pursue more science-oriented objectives from high-inclination, polar orbits. Depending on the latitude of the target area and the inclination of Lunar Orbiter’s orbit, the rotation of the Moon would allow overlapping coverage on successive orbits. Click on image to enlarge. Two days later, Lunar Orbiter 3 was commanded to readout and transmit its “Goldstone test film”.

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+ How we made $200K with 4M downloads.

How we made $200K with 4M downloads.