Last of the Pre-Apollo Lunar Orbiters

Forty-five years ago today — August 1, 1967 — Lunar Orbiter 5 was launched by an Atlas Agena from Cape Canaveral.


(Lunar Orbiter 5. NASA image.)

As noted, Lunar Orbiter 5 was the last of the series, “designed to to take additional Apollo and Surveyor landing site photography and to take broad survey images of unphotographed parts of the Moon’s far side.”

The spacecraft acquired photographic data from August 6 to 18, 1967, and readout occurred until August 27, 1967. A total of 633 high resolution and 211 medium resolution frames at resolution down to 2 meters were acquired, bringing the cumulative photographic coverage by the 5 Lunar Orbiters to 99% of the Moon’s surface.

Mission Control commanded Lunar Orbiter 5 to de-orbit and hit the lunar surface five months after its photography mission was completed.

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