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NASA Facts Surveyor

NASA Facts Surveyor

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Published by Bob Andrepont

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Mar 23, 2011
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11/02/2012

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N A S A ~ f f i
~
~
AN
EDUCATIONALPUBLICATION
OF
THENATIONAL AERONAUTICSAND
SPACE
ADMINIS
T
RATION
NF-
35/VO
L.
IV
,
NO
.6
On
Surveyor
On
May30,
1966
,SurveyorIclimbed awayfrom CapeKennedy,Flori
da
,aboard
an
Atlas-Centaurrocket.
On
June 2,
1966
,sixty-threehours andthirty-sixminuteslater,aftertraveling almost a quarterof a millionmile
s,
it land
ed
within nine
Exact
counterpart
of
the
Su
rveyor
I
spacecraft
which
made
thefirst
U.S. "
softlanding"
on
the
moon
June
I,
1966.
It
is
one
of
seven
which
will
be
sent
to
the moon
toinv
estigate the surface environment
prior
to
manned
land
ings expected
to
begin
about
1970
.
It
is iden
ti
cal to
Survey
or,,,
which landed
on
themoon
,A
pril
19,
1967,
milesofitstargetin the OceanofStorms closeto the lunarequator.During thesix weeks followingSurveyor'sland
ing-while
the
sun
set,rose again
14
earthdayslaterand setasecond
time
on Surveyo
r's
landing
ex
cept
for
the
surface sampler
(seei
nset
)
fastened
to
a
me
tal
extendable
arm.
A
bout
five
inches
longand
two
incheswide
the
device,on
radioed
command
,is
able
to
ex
tend
itself about
five
feet
and
scoop
or
dig intothelunar
surface.In
thelar
ger
photo
,
the turret to the left
of
the
mast
house
sa
television
camera.
 
site-the
spacecraft
transmitted
to
NASA
earthstations
11
,
150
high-resolution pictures
of
thelunarsurface.Thepictures wereexcellent
in
qualityand
so
clear
in
detail
that
scientists havebeen ableto measure and to count particles
as
small
as
one
fiftieth
of
an
inch
in
diameter.The resolution
of
the pictures was1,
000
,
000
times better than could
be
obtained bythe
be
stearth-based telescopes and
1,000
times better than the best picturestakenby the Rangerspacecraft.Thepicturesrecei
ved
acrossthe247,
000
-mile
gulf
separatingthe twocelestialbodiesprovid
ed
scientistswith a view
of
Fig.1
Schematic diagram
of
launch
phase
trajectory
of
Surveyor
I.
ATLAS·CENTAURSEPARATIONPHASE
the
lu
narsurface
of
about one-and-one-halfmilessurroundingthe spacecraft.
On
July 13,
during
its
42nd
day
on
themoon,SurveyorI,
after
enduring
the
intenseheat of thetwo-week lunar day
(250
degrees F.maximum), and the cold ofthe two-week-Ionglunar night (minus
260
degrees F.),radioed
812
addition
al
pictures to earth
during its
secondlunar day
on
the moon.Surveyor I
wa
sthe
first
of
sevenlunarsoftland ing missionsplanned
for
1966
through1968. Itstestobjectivescalled
for
Surveyorto accomplish
INJECTION INTOLUNARTRANSFERORBITSURVEYORSEPARATION PHASE(CENTAUR COASTRATE·STABILIZED) MAINENGINESIGNITIONATLASSUSTAINERPHASE
AJETII
SONNOSEFAIRI
NG
INSULATION PANELS
--L
AUNCH FROMCAPEKENNEDY
2
 
an
ex
tremely
difficult
mission. Its Atlas·Centaurlaunch vehicle hadtolaunch
it
toward the moonwith suchaccuracy
that
asmallcorrection of its
flight
pathbyamid-coursemaneuver would
bring
ittoa specificspotabovethe moon's surface. Then,
Su
rveyor
wa
srequiredto automatically
fir
eitsmainsolid propellantretro engineandcontrol threesmallerliquidenginesto slowitsspeedfrom
6000
miles
an
hourtoalanding speedofonly 7.5 mph. Thiscriticaldescent phase,under the controlof acompletelyautomatic
on
-board soft
la
nding guidance
an
d controlsystem,hadnever been accomplish
ed
beforeand required precision
timing
and flawless
exe
cution.
SURVEYOR FLIGHT
Surveyor I lifted off LaunchP
ad
36-A
at CapeKennedy withinone second
of
itsplannedlaunch
time-lOAl:01
a.m. EasternDaylight
Time-on
May30,
1966
(SeeFig. 1).Subsequen
tly
,alllaunch vehicleand spaceflight eventsoccur
re
dsatisfactorily.Both antenn
as
and the spacecraft'sthree landinglegs werecommandedby the Atlas-Centaurpro grammer, about12minutesafter
liftoff
,to
ex
tendfromtheirfold
ed
launchpositionto the
flight
andlandingposition.
Fli
g
ht
controllers
re
ceivedtelemetry information,however, indicating
that
AntennaA,one
of
Surveyor's twolow gain antennas,failed to deploy.Later,after
Su
rveyor Itoucheddown
on
themoon,telemetryshowed
that
the
an
tenn
as
wereproperly
ex
tended.Televisionpictures fromSur veyor's camera
of
t
he
antennaand itslatchingmechanismprovidedverification of this.
Th
ecritical terminaldescentbegan 31 minutes and
2000
miles from the moonwith a series
of
carefully plannedmaneuvers to align Surveyor'sretrorocketwithits approachdirection,
just
fivedegrees from locallunarvertical.About28
minut
es
later,Surveyor'saltitude
marking
radar
se
n
sed
the nearness ofthe
moon-
59%
miles
away-and
start
ed
the automaticsequence
that
fir
ed
first
itsthree small vernierenginesandthen its 9,000-pound-
thrust
mainretromotor.At thatmoment,Surveyorwas
46
%milesabove the moon andtraveling
at5840
milesperhour.Thepowerfulretrorocketblasted
for
39
secondsand slowedthespacecraftto 267 miles
an
hourbythe
time
ithaddescended to
35
,
000
feetaltitude.Therocketmotorcase automaticallydetached itself from Surveyor at31,
000
feet,andthree smaller rocketengines whichearlier poweredthe mid-course man
eu
ver, continued to slowthe
desce
nt. These
little
rockets,calledverniers,
re
ducedthe spacecraft'sspeed to
71.4
milesperhour by the
time
Surveyor was
1000
feetabovethemoon andfinally to 2.8 miles
an
hourwhenthey cut offabout 10feetabove the lunarsurface.
Fig.2Sch
emat
ic
dia
g
ram
of
terminaldescent
events
to
mo
on
's surface.
\\
\\
~
""'''
m""",
\
\
k
PRE·RETRO MANEUVER30
MIN
BEFORETOUCHDOWN ALIGNSMAIN RETRO WITH FLIGHT PATH
\
\
~
MAINRETROSTART BY ALTI
TUD
MARKING RADAR WHICHEJECTSFROMNOZZLE,CRAFTSTABILIZ
EDBY
VERNIER ENGINESAT
60·MI
ALTITU
DE
,5,
900
MPH
\
\
\
\\
I
~
MAIN RETRO BURNOUT
AND
EJECTION,VERNIER RETRO SYSTEM TAKEOVER
AT
31
,
000
FT
,
267
MPHVERNIER ENGINES SHUTOFF
AT
10
FT
,2.8 MPH
-_-:>
-
~
~
- ~
. ~
"
..
~
~
- -
~
. . , . " " , " , o w , , ,
"
M,"
:
~
~
' , ~ .
, :
:
"':)
~
.::>
-::>
"
~ 
...
~
' : ) 
-
;.
NOTE:ALTITUD
ES,
VELOCITIES,AND
TIM
ES
AREAPPROXIMATE
3

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