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Lunar Surveyor 05
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Surveyor 05
Surveyor 5 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Lander
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Centaur (AC-13 / Atlas 3C no. 5901C / Centaur D-1A)
Launch Site: Eastern Test Range / launch complex 36B, Cape Canaveral, USA
NASA Center: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Spacecraft Mass: 1006 kg at launch, 303.7 kg at landing
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system; 2) alpha-scattering instrument; 3) surface sampler; and 4) footcomplex magnet
Spacecraft Dimensions: About 3 meters high. Footpads extended 4.3 meters from the center.
Spacecraft Power: Solar cells which charged silver-zinc batteries
Maximum Power: 85 watts
Principal Scientists: Dr. Leonard D. Jaffe
Total Cost: $469 million for entire Surveyor program of seven spacecraft.
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,

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

Brilliantly overcoming a near-fatal helium leak in a pressure regulator, engineers from JPL and Hughes Aircraft Company (the prime contractor for the spacecraft) managed to safely deposit Surveyor 5 on the surface of the Moon in the southeastern region of Mare Tranquillitatis at 1° 25' north latitude and 23° 11' east longitude at 00:46:42 UT on 11 September 1967.

The malfunction put the lander about 29 kilometers away from its target in an angular incline within the slope of the rimless crater. Surveyor 5 was, however, the most successful of the series.

The lander returned 18,006 photos before lunar night descended on 24 September. Controllers successfully commanded the vehicle to take further photographs during the second lunar day between 15 and 24 October 1967 and the fourth lunar day in December. In total, 20,018 pictures were transmitted.

In another experiment, on 13 September, controllers fired the main engine for 0.55 second to examine the effects of disturbing the lunar surface. NASA announced that no new craters were created, nor was there any significant dust cloud. The alpha-scattering instrument had earlier been released onto the surface and found the soil to be composed of more than half oxygen with amounts of silicon and aluminum. Contact was lost with the lander on 16 December 1967.

Key Dates
8 Sep 1967:  Launch
11 Sep 1967:  Lunar Landing (00:46:42 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Surveyor 05 Facts Surveyor 5 performed the first on-site soil analysis of a celestial body beyond Earth (right).

It was the first spacecraft in the Surveyor series to carry a scientific instrument.

Engineers used pencils instead of computers to make hasty calculations to save the troubled spacecraft before landing.
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Al Hibbs decided as a five-year-old that he wanted to go to the Moon. He did qualify as an astronaut, but his legacy is in robotic exploration. Read More...
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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2010