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Lunar Photographic Studies

NSSDCA ID: 1967-041A-01

Mission Name: Lunar Orbiter 4
Principal Investigator:Mr. Leon J. Kosofsky


This experiment consisted of a dual-lens camera system designed to satisfy the primary mission objective of providing photogaphic information for mapping and for the evaluation of Apollo and Surveyor landing sites. An 80-mm lens system was used to obtain medium-resolution (MR) photos, and a 610-mm lens system was used for high-resolution (HR) photos. The two separate lens, shutter, and platen systems utilized the same film supply and recorded imagery simultaneously in adjacent areas on 70-mm film. Continual automatic sequences of photos were obtained. At an altitude of 2700 km, which was approximately the perilune height, the system photographed over 85 percent of the lunar surface. At apolune, on the moon's farside at about 6110-km altitude, the areas photographed were correspondingly larger. The film was bimat processed on board and optically scanned, and the resulting video signal was telemetered to ground stations. Film density readout was accomplished by a high-intensity light beam focused to a 6.5-micron-diameter spot on the spacecraft film. The spot scanner swept 2.67 mm in the long dimension of the spacecraft film. This process was repeated 286 times for each millimeter of film scanned. The raster was composed of 2.67- by 65-mm scan lines along the film. The video signal received at the ground station was recorded on magnetic tape and also fed to ground reconstruction equipment (GRE), which reproduced the portion of the image contained in one raster on a 35-mm film positive framelet. Over 26 framelets were required for a complete MR photograph and 86 for a complete HR image. Fogging of the window rendered some photographs unusable. Otherwise, experiment performance was nominal until the final readout on June 1, 1967. A detailed description of the experiment, a bibliography, and indexes of all the available Lunar Orbiter 1 through 5 photos are contained in the report, 'Lunar Orbiter photographic data,' NSSDC 69-05, June 1969.

Alternate Names

  • LunarOrbiter4/LunarPhotographicStudies


  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Isidore G. RecantOther InvestigatorNASA Langley Research Center
Mr. Leon J. KosofskyPrincipal InvestigatorNASA Headquarters

Selected References

  • Lunar Orbiter photographic data (data users' note), NASA-GSFC, NSSDC 69-05, Greenbelt, MD, June 1969.

Related Information at NSSDCA

Diagram of L.O. Camera

Lunar Orbiter Camera Diagram

Rendering of L.O. Camera
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