DESTINATION MOON: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program
 
 
CHAPTER III: BEGINNING THE LUNAR ORBITER PROGRAM
 
The Boeing Lunar Orbiter Proposal
 
 
 
[65] The Source Evaluation Board turned to the proposal of the Boeing Company of Seattle, Washington. Boeing presented an orbiter concept which used three-axis stabilization with a spacecraft weighing only 360 kilograms. The design employed much space-tested, off -the-shelf hardware. For example, Boeing would have a photographic system fabricated by Eastman Kodak, the contractor for the Agena photo system already in use by the U.S. Air Force. Film processing on board the orbiter would be handled by the Kodak Bimat process which had been perfected in 1961. The Boeing orbiter would use the same Canopus sensor for acquiring the star Canopus as an attitude reference as the Mariner C spacecraft had used. The 100-pound-thrust Marquardt rocket engine which was being developed for the Apollo Program would be used for deboosting the spacecraft into lunar orbit. Four large solar panels would generate power for the spacecraft, and these would be backed up [66] by nickel cadmium batteries which would supply power at the times when the orbiter would be out of sight of the Sun. The whole system would generate 266 watts of electrical output to power the spacecraft's components.17

Boeing's proposed photographic system pleased the Source Evaluation Board because it offered greater flexibility than those submitted by the other four bidders. It would be a scaled-down version of the Eastman Kodak system used by USAF, and, unlike the others, it featured a camera with two lenses which could take pictures simultaneously -- one using a high-resolution, the other a medium-resolution mode. On a single mission the Boeing orbiter could photograph a greater area of the lunar surface and also obtain more detailed photographic data than any other proposed system. Moreover, if loss of the use of one lens occurred.. the whole photographic mission would not be ruined.

The photographic system would be capable of providing pictures of areas up to 8,000 square kilometers in the high-resolution mode-four times the size of area called for in the NASA Request for Proposals. Moreover., the photographic payload would use the very suitable, highly perfected Kodak [67] Bimat process to develop and fix the film on board the spacecraft. It is, therefore, important to the understanding of the Boeing lunar orbiter concept to survey briefly the photographic system and the Bimat process in order to recognize the greater degree of flexibility which these two integrated subsystems offered NASA.


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