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Lunar Orbiter 04
Lunar Orbiter 4 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Agena D (no. 22 / Atlas D no. 5804 / Agena D no. AD131 / 6633)
Launch Site: Eastern Test Region / launch complex 13, Cape Canaveral, USA
NASA Center: Langley Research Center
Spacecraft Mass: 385.6 kg at launch
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system; 2) micrometeoroid detectors; and 3) radiation dosimeters
Spacecraft Dimensions: 2 m high, 5.2 m across with dish and omnidirectional antenna deployed
Spacecraft Power: Four solar panels; nickel-cadmium batteries for use in Moon's shadow
Maximum Power: 375 W
Antenna Diameter: 1 meter (high-gain antenna)
Total Cost: $163 million (total for all 5 spacecraft in Lunar Orbiter program)
References:
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi

National Space Science Data Center, http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.


Lunar Orbiter 4 was the first in the series dedicated to scientific surveys of the Moon. After a burn at 21:54 UT on 8 May 1967, the spacecraft entered a 2,705 x 6,034-kilometer orbit inclined at 85.48 degrees, becoming the first vehicle to enter polar orbit around the Moon.

Controllers successfully overcame a problem with the Thermal Camera Door, and subsequently, during its two-month mission, the orbiter took pictures of 99 percent of the near side and 75 percent of the far side of the Moon in a total of 193 frames. The images had a resolution of up to 60 meters.

In early June, controllers lowered the spacecraft's orbit to match that of Lunar Orbiter 5 so scientists could collect gravitational data in support of the latter mission. Before losing contact on 17 July, Lunar Orbiter 4 took the first photos of the lunar south pole and discovered a 240-kilometer-long crustal fault on the far side.

Since contact was lost before controlled impact, the spacecraft naturally crashed onto the Moon on 6 October 1967 due to gravitational anomalies.


Key Dates
4 May 1967:  Launch (22:25:00)
17 Jul 1967:  Lunar Impact
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Lunar Orbiter 04 Facts Lunar Orbiter 4 was the first spacecraft put in a polar orbit of the Moon.

It took the first pictures of the lunar south pole, an area that remains of high scientific interest due to its potential to harbor water-ice.

Lunar Orbiter for photographed 99 percent of the Moon's near side and 75 percent of the far side in 193 frames.
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Last Updated: 29 Nov 2010