Encyclopedia Astronautica
Lunar orbiter


Category of spacecraft.

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Associated Spacecraft
  • Pioneer 0-1-2 American lunar orbiter. 3 launches, 1958.08.17 (Pioneer (1)) to 1958.11.08 (Pioneer 2). Pioneers 0, 1 and 2 were the first U. S. spacecraft to attempt to leave Earth orbit. More...
  • Pioneer P 3 American lunar orbiter. 4 launches, 1959.11.26 (Pioneer (P 3)) to 1960.12.15 (Pioneer (P 31)). The least successful lunar spacecraft; none even achieved orbit in four attempts. More...
  • L4-1960 Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1960. Lunar orbiter proposed by Korolev in January 1960. The spacecraft was to take 2 to 3 men to lunar orbit and back to earth by 1965. More...
  • Apollo CSM American manned lunar orbiter. 22 launches, 1964.05.28 (Saturn 6) to 1975.07.15 (Apollo (ASTP)). The Apollo Command Service Module was the spacecraft developed by NASA in the 1960's as a standard spacecraft for earth and lunar orbit missions. More...
  • Apollo D-2 American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1962. The General Electric design for Apollo put all systems and space not necessary for re-entry and recovery into a separate jettisonable 'mission module', joined to the re-entry vehicle by a hatch. More...
  • L4-1963 Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1963. The L-4 Manned Lunar Orbiter Research Spacecraft would have taken two to three cosmonauts into lunar orbit for an extended survey and mapping mission. More...
  • Apollo MSS American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1965. The Apollo Mapping and Survey System was a kit of photographic equipment that was at one time part of the basic Apollo Block II configuration. More...
  • Gemini - Saturn V American manned lunar orbiter. In late 1964 McDonnell, in addition to a Saturn 1B-boosted circumlunar Gemini, McDonnell proposed a lunar-orbit version of Gemini to comprehensively scout the Apollo landing zones prior to the first Apollo missions. More...
  • 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. More...
  • Gemini - Double Transtage American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1965. In June 1965 astronaut Pete Conrad conspired with the Martin and McDonnell corporations to advocate an early circumlunar flight using Gemini. More...
  • Apollo Experiments Pallet American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1965. The Apollo Experiments Pallet was a sophisticated instrument payload that would have been installed in the Apollo CSM for dedicated lunar or earth orbital resource assessment missions. More...
  • Luna E-6S Russian lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1966.03.01 (Cosmos 111) to 1966.03.31 (Luna 10). More...
  • Lunar Orbiter American lunar orbiter. 5 launches, 1966.08.10 (Lunar Orbiter 1) to 1967.08.01 (Lunar Orbiter 5). Photography of the moon's surface from selenocentric orbit. The Lunar Orbiter series took photos of lunar surface from selenocentric orbit. More...
  • Luna E-6LF Russian lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1966.08.24 (Luna 11) to 1966.10.22 (Luna 12). Photographed lunar surface and orbital space environment in preparation for manned missions. More...
  • Luna E-6LS Russian lunar orbiter. 3 launches, 1967.05.17 (Cosmos 159) to 1968.04.07 (Luna 14). The E-6LS was a radio-equipped version of the E-6 used to test tracking and communications networks for the Soviet manned lunar program. More...
  • Gemini LORV American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1967. This version of Gemini was studied as a means of rescuing an Apollo CSM crew stranded in lunar orbit. The Gemini would be launched unmanned on a translunar trajectory by a Saturn V. More...
  • Lunar Orbit OPS Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1968. In Chelomei's draft project for the UR-700, he proposed that lunar versions of the Almaz OPS be placed in lunar orbit to conduct detailed reconnaissance of the surface using manned assistance. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-L1A Russian manned lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1969.02.21 (N-1 3L) to 1969.07.03 (N-1 5L). Hybrid spacecraft used in N1 launch tests. More...
  • Apollo LRM American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1969. Grumman proposed to use the LM as a lunar reconnaissance module. But NASA had already considered this and many other possibilities (Apollo MSS, Apollo LMSS); and there was no budget available for any of them. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-L1E Russian manned lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1969.11.28 (Soyuz 7K-L1E s/n 1) and 1970.12.02 (Cosmos 382). Modification of Soyuz circumlunar configuration used in propulsion tests of the Block D stage. More...
  • OS-1 Lunar Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1969. A version of the OS-1 station was proposed for use in lunar orbit. No other details beyond this sketch. More...
  • Skylab Lunar Orbit Station American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1970. McDonnell Douglas (Seal Beach, CA) did a study on modifying the to modify the Skylab as a moon-orbiting observatory and station More...
  • Soyuz 7K-LOK Russian manned lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1971.06.26 (N-1 6L) to 1972.11.23 (LOK). The two-crew LOK lunar orbiting spacecraft was the largest derivative of Soyuz developed. More...
  • PFS American lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1971.07.26 (Apollo 15 Subsatellite) to 1972.04.16 (Apollo 16 Subsatellite). Released from Apollo; particles and fields experiments. Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). More...
  • Luna Ye-8-LS Russian lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1971.09.28 (Luna 19) to 1974.05.29 (Luna 22). Lunar surface mapping. Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). Investigation of the moon and near-lunar space from the orbit of an artificial satellite. More...
  • Lunar Orbit Station American manned lunar orbiter. Study 1984. A variety of lunar orbital way-stations, based on space station components, were studied by NASA in the 1980's. More...
  • LOK Energia Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1988. Lunar orbiter for Energia-launched lunar expedition. The LOK and LK lander would be inserted into lunar orbit by separate Energia launches. More...
  • Hagoromo Japanese lunar orbiter. One launch, 1990.01.24. Lunar orbiter ejected from Muses A 3/19/90; contact lost after release; engineering test. Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). More...
  • Hiten Japanese lunar orbiter. One launch, 1990.01.24. MUSES-A was renamed Hiten after launch. It developed of lunar swingby techniques for future missions and ejected a lunar orbiter. More...
  • Clementine American lunar orbiter. One launch, 1994.01.25. Clementine was jointly sponsored by BMDO and NASA as the Deep Space Program Science Experiment (DSPSE). More...
  • SMART-1 European lunar orbiter. One launch, 2003.09.27, Insat 3E. ESA's SMART-1 was to test miniaturization technology while exploring the Moon from orbit. More...
  • Chang'e Chinese unmanned lunar orbiter. Two launched, 2007.10.24 and 2010.10.01. Originally announced in March 2003 with the first spacecraft to reach the moon by the end of 2005. More...
  • Chandraayan Indian lunar orbiter. One launch, 2008.10.22. First Indian lunar orbiter. It released the MIP impactor. More...

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