Model, Lunar Lander, Surveyor
- Hughes Aircraft Co.
- This 1:24 scale model of the Surveyor lunar soft-lander accurately depicts the five spacecraft successfully landed by NASA on the Moon during the period from May 30, 1966 to January 9, 1968. The overall objectives of the Surveyor program were to accomplish soft landings on the Moon, obtain data concerning temperature, chemical composition, and load-bearing characteristics of the lunar soil in support of the Apollo program, televise high quality photographs of the lunar surface, and perform operations on the lunar surface that would contribute new scientific knowledge about the Moon.
- The Hughes Aircraft Company donated this to the Museum in 1975.
- Long Description
- The Lunar exploration program planned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) included three types of robotic lunar probes to precede the first piloted Apollo mission to the moon: Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, and Surveyor. Unlike Ranger, which crash landed on the lunar surface and Lunar Orbiter, which operated from lunar orbit, Surveyor was designed to survive its trip to the moon, soft land on its surface, and operate for extended periods of time directly on the surface of the moon. The objectives of the Surveyor program, as they were spelled out by NASA were: (1) to accomplish a soft-landing on the moon; (2) to provide basic data in support of the U. S. Apollo lunar landing program; and (3) to perform operations on the lunar surface which would reveal new scientific knowledge about the moon.
- There were seven Surveyor launches, all of which used the Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle. Surveyors 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 accomplished the goals set forth for the program, a remarkable success record for such an advanced and technically complex program at a time when knowledge about space operations was minimal. Surveyors 2 and 4 were successfully launched but experienced problems enroute to the moon. As experience and knowledge of the moon and the capabilities of the spacecraft were obtained, changes were made to the Surveyor spacecraft and different landing sites were chosen.
- Surveyor 1 was launched from Cape Kennedy, Fla. on May 30, 1966. All of the systems and procedures worked well, including the mid-course correction, the radar altimeter, and the retro-engines. Surveyor 1 landed on June 2, 1966, within 16 kilometers (10 miles) of its midcourse aiming point just north of Flamsteed Crater on the Moons "Ocean of Storms." More than 10,000 high-quality photographs of the lunar surface were returned to Earth during the spacecraft's first lunar day. The spacecraft was then successfully revived after a cold, dark, lunar night.
- Surveyor 3 was similar to Surveyor 1, except that it had a "scoop and claw" device with which tests of the bearing strength and consistency of the lunar surface and surface material could be tested. Surveyor 5 was the first of the spacecraft to carry a "alpha back-scattering" instrument with which chemical analysis of the lunar material could be made. Finally, Surveyor 7 was equipped with both the scoop and claw device and the alpha back-scattering instrument, with the former used to reposition the latter and prepare the surface for different measurements. The arm was guided from Earth, with a television camera serving as the operator's eye.
- The Surveyor program was remarkably successful, pioneering numerous feats. Surveyor 1 completed the first U.S. soft-landing on the Moon and returned the first color pictures from the Moon. Surveyor 3 took the first color pictures of Earth from the Moon and made the first excavation on an extraterrestrial body. The first on-site chemical analysis of lunar soil was conducted by Surveyor 5, and Surveyor 6 made the first launch from the Moon when it "hopped" 2.5 meters so that its cameras and instruments could obtain data and images about the disturbance of the lunar soil caused by it initial landing.
- The five successful Surveyors provided scientists and Apollo mission planners with more than 85,000 photographs from the surface of the moon and invaluable data on the nature and strength of that surface. What is more, the program provided valuable experience with the control of a spacecraft far from earth and in the neighborhood of another celestial body, and with the remote manipulation of instruments in space.
- Surveyor 3 had been on the Moon for two and a half years when the Apollo 12 crew arrived in 1969. Astronauts Charles Conrad Jr. and Alan Bean removed its television camera, surface sampler, and some tubing and brought them back to Earth for analysis.
- Credit Line
- Gift of Hughes Aircraft Co.
- Inventory Number
- Restrictions & Rights
- Usage conditions apply
- MODELS-Unmanned Spacecraft & Parts
- Plastic, wood, polystyrene
- Overall: 6 1/2 x 8 x 8 1/2in. (16.51 x 20.32 x 21.59cm)
- Country of Origin
- United States of America
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- National Air and Space Museum Collection
- National Air and Space Museum
- Record ID
- Usage of Metadata (Object Detail Text)
- Not determined
- GUID (Link to Original Record)