Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Lunex Chronology

1957 December 9 - .
  • US Air Force recommends immediate goal of landing on the moon - . Nation: USA. Program: Lunex. The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Ad Hoc Committee on Space Technology recommended acceleration of specific military projects and a vigorous space program with the immediate goal of landings on the moon because "Sputnik and the Russian ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) capability have created a national emergency."

1958 April 1 - .
  • Lunar photographic atlas begun - . Nation: USA. Program: Lunex. A $61,000 contract was signed by the Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago, and the Air Force. Gerard P. Kuiper, principal investigator, was to produce a new lunar photographic atlas. The moon's visible surface would be divided into 44 areas, and each would be represented by at least four photographs taken under varying lighting conditions. Additional Details: here....

1958 April 25 - .
  • US Air Force manned military space systems program - . Nation: USA. Program: Lunex. The Air Force Ballistic Missile Division published the first development plan for an Air Force manned military space systems program. The objective was to "achieve an early capability to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth." The program called for the start of a high priority effort (similar to that enjoyed by ballistic missiles), characterized by "concurrency" and single Air Force agency management. The complete program would be carried out in four phases: first, "Man-in-Space Soonest"; second, "Man-in-Space Sophisticated"; third, "Lunar Reconnaissance," exploring the moon by television camera and by a soft landing of an instrumented package on the moon's surface; and finally, "Manned Lunar Landing and Return," which would first test equipment by circumlunar flights returning to earth with instrumented capsules containing animals. Additional Details: here....

1960 April 9-16 - .
  • Detailed lunar charts published by the Air Force - . Nation: USA. Program: Lunex. Detailed lunar charts, consisting of 230 photographic sheets, were published by the Air Force and the University of Chicago Press. The atlas, in preparation under Air Force contract since April 1958, was assembled by Gerard P. Kuiper of the Yerkes Observatory.

1960 May 1 - .
  • Contract for signed for lunar surface photography for mapping. - . Nation: USA. Program: Lunex. An additional contract for $10,000 was signed by the University of Manchester, Manchester, England, and the Air Force. Z. Kopal, principal investigator, would continue to work at the Pic-du-Midi Observatory in France, providing topographical information on the lunar surface for the production of accurate lunar maps. The contract (AF 61(052)380) was a continuation of one signed on November 1, 1958, and was to run from May 1, 1960, to October 31, 1960. In addition, the Air Force provided $40,000 for a 40-inch reflector telescope at the Observatory, tremendously increasing its capability for lunar topographical research. By June 1960, information on one-fourth of the visible area of the moon had been produced.

1961 February 10 - .
  • Air Force interest in spacecraft similar to the Apollo - . Nation: USA. Program: Lunex. Spacecraft: ; CSM Source Selection. At the first meeting of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, during the first session of the 87th Congress, Charles F. Ducander, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the Committee staff, outlined a number of proposed subjects for study. One subject was the Air Force's interest in a three-man spacecraft similar to the Apollo spacecraft planned by NASA. A Committee staff member had been assigned to investigate this duplication of effort. On February 22, testifying before the Committee, Air Force Undersecretary Joseph V. Charyk stated that the Dyna-Soar program was a direct approach to manned military space applications. The Air Force interest in an Apollo-type spacecraft was part of the post-Dyna-Soar program, Charyk said.

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