Surveyor program
Overview
 
The Surveyor Program was a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 program that, from 1966 through 1968, sent seven robotic spacecraft
Robotic spacecraft
A robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe. Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to...

 to the surface of the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

. Its primary goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of soft landing
Landing
thumb|A [[Mute Swan]] alighting. Note the ruffled feathers on top of the wings indicate that the swan is flying at the [[Stall |stall]]ing speed...

s on the Moon. The mission called for the craft to travel directly to the moon on an impact trajectory, on a journey that lasted 63 to 65 hours, and ended with a deceleration of just over three minutes to a soft-landing. The program was implemented by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

 (JPL) to prepare for the Apollo program.
Encyclopedia
The Surveyor Program was a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 program that, from 1966 through 1968, sent seven robotic spacecraft
Robotic spacecraft
A robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe. Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to...

 to the surface of the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

. Its primary goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of soft landing
Landing
thumb|A [[Mute Swan]] alighting. Note the ruffled feathers on top of the wings indicate that the swan is flying at the [[Stall |stall]]ing speed...

s on the Moon. The mission called for the craft to travel directly to the moon on an impact trajectory, on a journey that lasted 63 to 65 hours, and ended with a deceleration of just over three minutes to a soft-landing. The program was implemented by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

 (JPL) to prepare for the Apollo program. The total cost of the Surveyor program was officially $469 million dollars.

Five of the Surveyor craft successfully soft-landed on the moon, including the first one. The other two failed: Surveyor 2 crashed at high velocity after a failed mid-course correction, and Surveyor 4 was lost to contact (possibly exploding) 2.5 minutes before its scheduled touch-down.

All seven spacecraft are still on the Moon; none of the missions included returning them to Earth. Some parts of Surveyor 3
Surveyor 3
Surveyor 3 was the third lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. Launched on April 17, 1967, Surveyor 3 landed on April 20, 1967 at the Mare Cognitum portion of the Oceanus Procellarum...

 were returned to Earth by the crew of Apollo 12
Apollo 12
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the American Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon . It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L...

, which landed near it in 1969. The camera from this craft is on display at the National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

 in Washington, DC.

Goals

The program performed several other services beyond its primary goal of demonstrating soft landings. The ability of spacecraft to make midcourse corrections was demonstrated, and the landers carried instruments to help evaluate the suitability of their landing sites for manned Apollo landings. Several Surveyor spacecraft had robotic shovels designed to test lunar soil mechanics. Before the Soviet Luna 9
Luna 9
Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union's Luna program. On February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on any planetary body other than Earth and to transmit photographic data to Earth.The automatic lunar station that achieved the...

 mission (landing four months before Surveyor 1) and the Surveyor project, it was unknown how deep the dust on the Moon was. If the dust was too deep, then no astronaut could land. The Surveyor program proved that landings were possible. Some of the Surveyors also had alpha scattering instruments and magnets, which helped determine the chemical composition of the soil.

The simple and reliable mission architecture was a pragmatic approach to solving the most critical space engineering challenges of the time, namely the closed-loop terminal descent guidance and control system, throttleable engines, and the radar systems required for determining the lander's altitude and velocity. The Surveyor missions were the first time that NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 tested such systems in the challenging thermal and radiation environment near the Moon.

Launch and lunar landing

Each Surveyor mission consisted of a single unmanned spacecraft designed and built by Hughes Aircraft Company. The launch vehicle was the Atlas-Centaur
Atlas-Centaur
The Atlas-Centaur was an American expendable launch system designed and built by General Dynamics Convair Division in San Diego, CA. It was derived from the SM-65 Atlas missile. It was a member of the Atlas family of rockets, and was used for 61 orbital launches between 1962 and 1983. It was...

 which injected the craft directly into trans-lunar flightpath. The craft did not orbit the moon on reaching it, but directly decelerated from impact trajectory, from 2.6 km/s relative to the moon before firing retrorockets, to a soft landing about 3 minutes 10 seconds later.

Each craft was planned to slow to about 110 m/s (4% of speed before retrofire) by a main solid fuel retrorocket, which fired for 40 seconds starting at an altitude of 75.3 km above the Moon, and then was jettisoned along with radar unit, 11 km from the surface. The remainder of the trip to the surface, lasting about 2.5 minutes, was handled by smaller doppler radar units and three vernier engines running on liquid fuels fed to them using pressurized helium. (The successful flight profile of Surveyor 5 was given a somewhat shortened vernier flight sequence as a result of a helium leak). The last 3.4 meters to the surface was accomplished in free-fall from zero velocity at that height, after the vernier engines were turned off. This resulted in a landing speed of about 3 m/s.

Surveyor 1 required a total of about 63 hours (2.6 days) to reach the moon, and Surveyor 5 required 65 hours (2.7 days). The launch weights (at lunar injection) of the seven Surveyors ranged from 995.2 kilograms (2,194 lb) to 1040 kilograms (2,292.8 lb), and their landing weights (minus fuel, jetisoned retrorocket, and radar unit) ranged from 294.3 kilograms (648.8 lb) to 306 kilograms (674.6 lb).

Missions


Image:Moon landing map surveyor.svg|thumb|300px|Location of Surveyor missions on the Moon (yellow)
rect 163 504 257 560 Surveyor 1
Surveyor 1
Surveyor 1 was the first lunar soft-lander in the unmanned Surveyor program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration . This lunar soft-lander gathered data about the lunar surface that would be needed for the manned Apollo Moon landings that began in 1969...


rect 308 511 399 562 Surveyor 3
Surveyor 3
Surveyor 3 was the third lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. Launched on April 17, 1967, Surveyor 3 landed on April 20, 1967 at the Mare Cognitum portion of the Oceanus Procellarum...


rect 711 472 801 525 Surveyor 5
Surveyor 5
Surveyor 5 was the fifth lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon.*Launched September 8, 1967; landed September 11, 1967*Weight on landing: 303 kg...


rect 497 480 592 533 Surveyor 6
Surveyor 6
Surveyor 6 was the sixth lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program that reached the surface of the Moon.*Launched November 7, 1967; landed November 10, 1967*Mass on landing: 299.6 kg Surveyor 6 landed on the Sinus Medii...


rect 433 819 525 873 Surveyor 7
Surveyor 7
Surveyor 7 was the seventh and last lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon.*Launched January 7, 1968; landed January 10, 1968*Weight on landing: 305.7 kg...


rect 53 468 147 518 Luna 9
Luna 9
Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union's Luna program. On February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on any planetary body other than Earth and to transmit photographic data to Earth.The automatic lunar station that achieved the...


rect 83 364 178 413 Luna 13
Luna 13
-External links:* *...


rect 281 217 373 264 Luna 17
Luna 17
-External links:*...


poly 510 330 556 283 585 312 566 330 511 329 Luna 2
Luna 2
Luna 2 was the second of the Soviet Union's Luna programme spacecraft launched to the Moon. It was the first spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon...


poly 541 358 587 311 631 358 540 357 Apollo 15
Apollo 15
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous...


rect 747 310 836 358 Luna 21
Luna 21
-External links:*...


rect 955 426 1039 474 Luna 24
Luna 24
-External links:*...


rect 937 501 1025 550 Luna 20
Luna 20
Luna 20 was the second of three successful Soviet lunar sample return missions. It was flown as part of the Luna program, also called Lunik 20, as a robotic competitor to the six successful Apollo lunar sample return missions....


rect 933 556 1024 590 Luna 16
Luna 16
-External links:*...


poly 308 611 354 561 379 590 361 611 308 609 Apollo 12
Apollo 12
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the American Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon . It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L...


poly 359 613 404 567 450 613 362 613 Apollo 14
Apollo 14
Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the American Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the "H missions", targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks....


rect 758 361 846 406 Apollo 17
Apollo 17
Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. Launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on December 7, 1972, with a three-member crew consisting of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 remains the...


rect 712 527 805 576 Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...


rect 647 613 734 663 Apollo 16
Apollo 16
Young and Duke served as the backup crew for Apollo 13; Mattingly was slated to be the Apollo 13 command module pilot until being pulled from the mission due to his exposure to rubella through Duke.-Backup crew:...


rect 10 896 205 942 Luna programme
Luna programme
The Luna programme , occasionally called Lunik or Lunnik, was a series of robotic spacecraft missions sent to the Moon by the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1976. Fifteen were successful, each designed as either an orbiter or lander, and accomplished many firsts in space exploration...


rect 11 950 229 998 Apollo program
rect 13 1005 276 1056 Surveyor Program
Surveyor program
The Surveyor Program was a NASA program that, from 1966 through 1968, sent seven robotic spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. Its primary goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of soft landings on the Moon...



desc bottom-left

There were seven Surveyor missions; five were successful. Surveyors 2 and 4 failed.
  • Surveyor 1
    Surveyor 1
    Surveyor 1 was the first lunar soft-lander in the unmanned Surveyor program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration . This lunar soft-lander gathered data about the lunar surface that would be needed for the manned Apollo Moon landings that began in 1969...

    - Launched May 30, 1966; landed on Oceanus Procellarum
    Oceanus Procellarum
    Oceanus Procellarum is a vast lunar mare on the western edge of the near side of the Earth's Moon. Its name derives from the old superstition that its appearance during the second quarter heralded bad weather...

    , June 2, 1966
  • Surveyor 2
    Surveyor 2
    Surveyor 2 was to be the second lunar lander in the unmanned American Surveyor program to explore the Moon.It was launched September 20, 1966 from Cape Kennedy, Florida aboard an Atlas-Centaur rocket....

    - Launched September 20, 1966; crashed near Copernicus crater
    Copernicus (lunar crater)
    Copernicus is a prominent lunar impact crater named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, located in eastern Oceanus Procellarum. It is estimated to be about 800 million years old, and typifies craters that formed during the Copernican period in that it has a prominent ray system.-...

    , September 23, 1966
  • Surveyor 3
    Surveyor 3
    Surveyor 3 was the third lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. Launched on April 17, 1967, Surveyor 3 landed on April 20, 1967 at the Mare Cognitum portion of the Oceanus Procellarum...

    - Launched April 17, 1967; landed on Oceanus Procellarum
    Oceanus Procellarum
    Oceanus Procellarum is a vast lunar mare on the western edge of the near side of the Earth's Moon. Its name derives from the old superstition that its appearance during the second quarter heralded bad weather...

    , April 20, 1967
  • Surveyor 4
    Surveyor 4
    Surveyor 4 was the fourth lunar lander in the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon.*Launched July 14, 1967; landed July 17, 1967*Weight on landing: 625 lb...

    - Launched July 14, 1967; crashed on Sinus Medii
    Sinus Medii
    Sinus Medii is a small lunar mare that is located at the intersection of the Moon's equator and prime meridian. As seen from the Earth, this feature is located in the central part of the Moon's near side, and it is the point closest to the Earth...

    , July 17, 1967
  • Surveyor 5
    Surveyor 5
    Surveyor 5 was the fifth lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon.*Launched September 8, 1967; landed September 11, 1967*Weight on landing: 303 kg...

    - Launched September 8, 1967; landed on Mare Tranquillitatis
    Mare Tranquillitatis
    Mare Tranquillitatis is a lunar mare that sits within the Tranquillitatis basin on the Moon. The mare material within the basin consists of basalt formed in the intermediate to young age group of the Upper Imbrian epoch. The surrounding mountains are thought to be of the Lower Imbrian epoch, but...

    , September 11, 1967
  • Surveyor 6
    Surveyor 6
    Surveyor 6 was the sixth lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program that reached the surface of the Moon.*Launched November 7, 1967; landed November 10, 1967*Mass on landing: 299.6 kg Surveyor 6 landed on the Sinus Medii...

    - Launched November 7, 1967; landed on Sinus Medii
    Sinus Medii
    Sinus Medii is a small lunar mare that is located at the intersection of the Moon's equator and prime meridian. As seen from the Earth, this feature is located in the central part of the Moon's near side, and it is the point closest to the Earth...

    , November 10, 1967
  • Surveyor 7
    Surveyor 7
    Surveyor 7 was the seventh and last lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon.*Launched January 7, 1968; landed January 10, 1968*Weight on landing: 305.7 kg...

    - Launched January 7, 1968; landed near Tycho crater
    Tycho (crater)
    Tycho is a prominent lunar impact crater located in the southern lunar highlands, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe . To the south is the crater Street; to the east is Pictet, and to the north-northeast is Sasserides. The surface around Tycho is replete with craters of various sizes,...

    , January 10, 1968


Surveyor 6 was the first spacecraft planned to liftoff from the Moon's surface. Surveyor 3 was the first spacecraft to unintentionally liftoff from the Moon's surface, which it did twice, due to an anomaly with Surveyor's Landing Radar which did not shut off the vernier engines but kept them firing throughout the first touchdown, and after it. Apollo 12's Lunar Module Intrepid landed 600 feet from Surveyor 3, as planned. Surveyor 3's TV and telemetry systems were found to have been damaged by its unplanned landings and liftoffs.

Space Race competition

During the time of the Surveyor missions, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 was actively involved in a Space Race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

 with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Thus, the Surveyor 1 landing in June 1966, only four months after the Soviet Luna 9
Luna 9
Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union's Luna program. On February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on any planetary body other than Earth and to transmit photographic data to Earth.The automatic lunar station that achieved the...

 probe landed in February, was an indication the programs were at similar stages.

See also

  • Apollo program
  • Atlas (rocket family)
    Atlas (rocket family)
    Atlas is a family of U.S. space launch vehicles. The original Atlas missile was designed in the late 1950s and produced by the Convair Division of General Dynamics, to be used as an intercontinental ballistic missile...

  • Luna programme
    Luna programme
    The Luna programme , occasionally called Lunik or Lunnik, was a series of robotic spacecraft missions sent to the Moon by the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1976. Fifteen were successful, each designed as either an orbiter or lander, and accomplished many firsts in space exploration...

  • Lunar Orbiter program
    Lunar Orbiter program
    The Lunar Orbiter program was a series of five unmanned lunar orbiter missions launched by the United States from 1966 through 1967. Intended to help select Apollo landing sites by mapping the Moon's surface, they provided the first photographs from lunar orbit.All five missions were successful,...

  • Ranger program
    Ranger program
    The Ranger program was a series of unmanned space missions by the United States in the 1960s whose objective was to obtain the first close-up images of the surface of the Moon. The Ranger spacecraft were designed to take images of the lunar surface, returning those images until they were destroyed...


External links

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