Developing Lunar Orbiter
In January 1961 the Hughes Aircraft Company was selected to build the Surveyor spacecraft. With a planned mass of about 1,125 kg at translunar injection, it would require the Atlas-Centaur. The plan was for the orbital version to provide wide-area mapping and reconnaissance of potential landing sites for the surface Surveyors and, later, for Apollo. The mass at touchdown was expected to be about 340 kg, of which 114 kg would be scientific instruments which would not only transmit pictures but also provide data on the physical, chemical, mineralogical and biological properties of the surface material. The initial schedule called for the first flight in 1964. It was also envisaged that as the project matured, an orbital variant would be equipped to serve as a communications relay for landers investigating sites on the far-side of the Moon.
KeywordsLanding Site Lunar Surface Lunar Orbiter Manned Space Deep Space Network
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