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For information regarding the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) contact: Keith Cowing firstname.lastname@example.org 703-787-6567
The guys that took most of those lunar pictures are still around, and several of us, sometimes all 4 of the crew, have lunch together once a month. We are all retired now from Boeing. I was the lead on the camera control crew down at JPL for the first three missions. We fooled NASA into letting us take the Earth Set over the Lunar Horizon shot. When they saw it NASA went non linear...made a fold out cover on LIFE.
NASA was rigid at first, no fooling around playing space papparazi, just do the vertical mapping stuff. However the film processing system required an occasional frame advance to keep from gumming up. We convinced NASA to let us take a few oblique photos then, not just waste some film. I think the first "condoned" oblique was that classic of the Copernicus Crater, followed by the Fauth oblique.
After those shots hit the press, NASA was all gung ho on oblique photos. Did you guys find that stuff from the back side of the Moon. I think we photographed over 80% of the "never seen before" side. Our L.O. camera bunch certainly have lots of humorous stories about those missions...Interested? Cheers, Lee Helser (aka "Big Shutter" on the JPL mission control internet)
Thank you so much for your visionary and passionate project for protecting this amazing resource!! The world has no idea how historically valuable it is that your team came together to retrieve the data from these tapes. And thank you to Nancy for not cleaning out her garage!! Posted by Dianna Bravo | November 14, 2008 2:38 PM
Way to go! We are forgetting technologies that have brougth us to the currently state. Please keep working saving history for mankind. Saludos desde México! Posted by Batipepe | November 15, 2008 7:28 AM
My father was a lead engineer for RCA aerospace (the camera end of the Ranger Series that preceded the Lunar Orbiter. Are photos from that series also going to be restored ? Posted by Paul | November 21, 2008 8:38 PM
The Lunar Orbiter program was a series of five unmanned Lunar orbiter missions launched by the United States in 1966 through 1967 with the purpose of mapping the lunar surface before the Apollo landings. All five missions were successful, and 99% of the Moon was photographed with a resolution of 60 m or better.