Encyclopedia Astronautica
Surveyor Orbiter

American lunar orbiter. Study 1965. NASA originally planned to have a version of the Surveyor spacecraft conduct detailed orbital photographic reconnaissance of the moon in preparation for the Apollo manned landings.

Delays in the Centaur upper stage and Surveyor programs resulted in the smaller Atlas-Agena-launched Lunar Orbiter spacecraft conducting the mission instead.

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Associated Countries
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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • JPL American agency;manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA. More...

  • Ertel , Ivan D; Morse , Mary Louise; et al, The Apollo Spacecraft Chronology Vol I - IV NASA SP-4009, NASA, 1966-1974. Web Address when accessed: here.

Surveyor Orbiter Chronology

1965 June 22 - .
  • Ad Hoc Surveyor Orbiter Utilization Committee - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Surveyor Orbiter. NASA Headquarters established an Ad Hoc Surveyor Orbiter Utilization Committee and MSC was requested to submit names of two proposed members. It was suggested that the nominees be familiar with the mission planning and constraints of the Apollo program. The first meeting was planned for late July.

    On July 29, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth submitted the names of William A. Lee and William E. Stoney, Jr. He noted that the same two individuals were being nominated to serve as MSC members on the Apollo Site Selection Board. Gilruth expressed a desire that the meetings of the two groups could be coordinated to the extent that travel would be minimized.

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