Author Topic: Surveyor Program  (Read 7961 times)

Offline laszlo

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #20 on: 03/07/2024 06:48 pm »
But it does demonstrate that good tech existed back when TV was wireless and phones were cabled and apples kept the doctor away.

There's a comment that Manly makes about "primitive computers" that bugs me. They were not "primitive" at that time. They were advanced at that time. Forty years from now, somebody is going to make a documentary about the "primitive computers" we had in 2024. Do we think our computers now are primitive? It's a distorted way of looking at history.

Amen, brother! I kept having to point out to the "kids" at work that we old fossils that don't understand tech invented and built the internet and wireless networks and that we did it without Google, Wikipedia or cell phones.

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #21 on: 03/07/2024 07:47 pm »
should also help with the Apollo Hoax conspiracy crowd

There is nothing that will actually convince them. There's an old saying that you cannot use logic to get a person out of a position that logic did not get them into in the first place.

Lipstick on a pig...

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #22 on: 03/07/2024 07:54 pm »
Amen, brother! I kept having to point out to the "kids" at work that we old fossils that don't understand tech invented and built the internet and wireless networks and that we did it without Google, Wikipedia or cell phones.

JPL's John Casani had a great quote in the Voyager documentary a number of years ago where he asked what's wrong with 1970s technology? He's 1930s technology and he's pretty capable. It's a great way of pointing out that it's not the specific technology that made something possible, it's the people that made the technology possible.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #23 on: 03/14/2024 02:50 pm »
Though Ranger was initiated as a scientific program, it was ultimately redirected principally to supporting Apollo. Surveyor, I believe, was Apollo-focused from the get go, and Lunar Orbiter certainly was. But, ultimately, how much impact did these programs have on Apollo?

Am I right in thinking that Ranger ultimately had essentially no influence on Apollo? By this I mean that no changes in design, procedures or landing sites resulted from Ranger photography. I'm not at all suggesting that Ranger was not worthwhile. It could, for example, have revealed a lunar surface so rocky that the LM would have required redesign.

Ditto for Surveyor. Was its value to Apollo not mostly in confirming the assumption that the lunar surface was reasonably smooth and capable of bearing substantial loads?

Lunar Orbiter photography was obviously heavily used in selecting landing sites. In its absence, though, is it possible that photography from  lunar-orbiting Apollo missions (like numbers 8 and 10) might have been sufficient to identify sites for early landings, with later site selection bootstrapping from photography on early missions? Again, I'm not suggesting this would have been a wise course of action, especially since the entire Lunar Orbiter program probably cost less than a since Apollo mission.

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #24 on: 03/14/2024 03:35 pm »
Well Apollo 13 & 14 had a big powerful camera seating on one of the astronaut couches: the Lunar Topographic Camera, a KA-74 aparently "borrowed" from the noses of Navy P-3B Orions.
No need for EVA to recover the film, unlike PanCam later. But much less powerful than both PanCam and Lunar Orbiter: still better ground resolution than the hand-held Hasseblads. Think it was 3 meters if the CSM flew really low. PanCam did 1 meter and so did Lunar Orbiter.

In theory Apollo 8 and beyond could have carried a LTC but procurement only started mid-1969.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #25 on: 03/14/2024 04:10 pm »
Well Apollo 13 & 14 had a big powerful camera seating on one of the astronaut couches: the Lunar Topographic Camera, a KA-74 aparently "borrowed" from the noses of Navy P-3B Orions.
No need for EVA to recover the film, unlike PanCam later. But much less powerful than both PanCam and Lunar Orbiter: still better ground resolution than the hand-held Hasseblads. Think it was 3 meters if the CSM flew really low. PanCam did 1 meter and so did Lunar Orbiter.

In theory Apollo 8 and beyond could have carried a LTC but procurement only started mid-1969.
Don't forget UPWARD/LMSS: initially sticking a GAMBIT into the Service Module, and later a on the nose rehoused in a GAMBIT3 shell (to allow film retrieval via EVA through the forward hatch), for mapping the Lunar surface.
In the end, Lunar Orbiter worked, so UPWARD/LMSS was not required and cancelled in 1967.

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #26 on: 03/14/2024 05:26 pm »
D'oh, silly me. UPWARD would have had less than 1 m ground resolution.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #27 on: 03/15/2024 03:18 am »
Though Ranger was initiated as a scientific program, it was ultimately redirected principally to supporting Apollo. Surveyor, I believe, was Apollo-focused from the get go, and Lunar Orbiter certainly was. But, ultimately, how much impact did these programs have on Apollo?

Am I right in thinking that Ranger ultimately had essentially no influence on Apollo? By this I mean that no changes in design, procedures or landing sites resulted from Ranger photography. I'm not at all suggesting that Ranger was not worthwhile. It could, for example, have revealed a lunar surface so rocky that the LM would have required redesign.
https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/lunar_images/Ranger8toApollo11/

Note the creation of Lunar Ranger Charts, two of which covered the eventual Apollo 11 landing zone.  Ranger played a role in Apollo planning, but was eventually overshadowed by Lunar Orbiter.

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Offline Proponent

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #28 on: 03/15/2024 02:43 pm »
Thanks
https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/lunar_images/Ranger8toApollo11/

Note the creation of Lunar Ranger Charts, two of which covered the eventual Apollo 11 landing zone.  Ranger played a role in Apollo planning, but was eventually overshadowed by Lunar Orbiter.

Thanks for that link. It's very interesting to see all of the Ranger shots in one place.

Ranger's field of view was very small. The widest Ranger 7 shots, for example, cover about 210 km, and the final high-resolution views less than 1 km. Hence the Apollo 11 zone must have been identified before Ranger flew.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #29 on: 03/15/2024 02:45 pm »
Ditto for Surveyor. Was its value to Apollo not mostly in confirming the assumption that the lunar surface was reasonably smooth and capable of bearing substantial loads?

Come to think of it, it was Luna 9, not Surveyor 1, that demonstrated the nature of the moon's surface.

Offline MattMason

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #30 on: 03/15/2024 06:19 pm »
That's a good point.  It would be a good baseline for a team to use as a design.  Since the requirements are alot like what Surveyor did.  The diffrence would be the rover aspect.

As you might have seen in one of those papers, two rover designs were planned.
Neither materialized due to weight and lander development delays.
But one year, a decade later or so, an old Surveyor rover test model was dusted off at JPL. It became the granddad, after a fashion, of the Mars rovers. An article I wrote for my Facebook page.

https://spaceflightblunders.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/surveyors-cancelled-lunar-rover/
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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #31 on: 03/15/2024 06:53 pm »
There's also a separate thread devoted to the Surveyor rover:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=54383.0

I am certain that there is more that could be written about the rovers. Across the Airless Wilds delved into the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle:

https://www.amazon.com/Across-Airless-Wilds-Triumph-Landings/dp/0062986538

I suspect that there were other late 1960s studies of Surveyor science rovers that just never saw the light of day. When it was clear that the Apollo and lunar budgets were going down, I could see JPL and Hughes deciding that there was no point in continuing to pitch more lunar rovers. But as my Space Review article noted, there are indications that some other concepts were proposed, we just don't have them. Maybe buried in JPL's archives, which are for the most part not accessible to mere mortals.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Surveyor Program
« Reply #32 on: 03/16/2024 09:52 am »

 I suspect that there were other late 1960s studies of Surveyor science rovers that just never saw the light of day. When it was clear that the Apollo and lunar budgets were going down, I could see JPL and Hughes deciding that there was no point in continuing to pitch more lunar rovers
. But as my Space Review article noted, there are indications that some other concepts were proposed, we just don't have them. Maybe buried in JPL's archives, which are for the most part not accessible to mere mortals.

It's also worth reminding ourselves that Hughes actually staffed Intelsat IV,SDS and apparently JUMPSEAT from among its Surveyor-trained engineers, as per the testimony of Tony Iorillo quoted here: https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4096/1

Quote
“In 1967 and 1968, even before TACSAT was launched, we used the TACSAT win as our relevant related experience” to win the classified [JUMPSEAT]  satellite contract, which Hughes designated the HS-318, and that for Intelsat IV, which used the HS-312 variant, Iorillo explained. 

[snip]

“With a large satellite configuration in hand, we beat TRW, and others, for the HS-318 and Intelsat IV contracts. These wins came just in time to prevent having to lay off the Surveyor and Intelsat II teams whose programs were ending. Even TACSAT was to end in a year. Thanks to Mr. Hyland’s foresight and faith, the bulk of these people were carried for many months entirely on company funding,” Iorillo noted.

[snip]

Iorillo also provided a bit more detail on the JUMPSEAT satellite they had to develop. “The ‘green’ program was much more demanding. It was our first entry into the operational world of satellite reconnaissance. And it was not a geostationary orbit mission. The satellite was a multi-mission vehicle carrying an electro-optical precision pointed payload and a very wide band ELINT [electronic intelligence] payload with large steerable receive and downlink antennas. We also designed and built the elaborate ground data processing segments for both payloads along with the satellite command and control station. The Surveyor guys were perfect for the job.


In principle they could have been transferred back but I suspect Hughes had already decided that comsats and spy sats were their best and most stable target market, and suited the corporate USP best.
« Last Edit: 03/16/2024 10:27 am by LittleBird »

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