Lunar Orbiter (1966 - 1967)
September 30, 2003
Five Lunar Orbiter missions were launched 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. The first three missions were dedicated to imaging 20 potential lunar landing sites, selected based on Earth-based observations. These were flown at low inclination orbits. The fourth and fifth missions were devoted to broader scientific objectives and were flown in high altitude polar orbits. Lunar Orbiter 4 photographed the entire nearside and 95% of the farside, and Lunar Orbiter 5 completed the farside coverage and acquired medium (20 m) and high (2 m) resolution images of 36 pre-selected areas.
Topics: Spacecraft, Space exploration, Moon, Lunar Orbiter 4, Lunar Orbiter 5, Lunar Orbiter program, Moon landing, Lunar orbit, SELENE, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Unmanned spacecraft, Exploration of the Moon