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Surveyor A-21A

Graham1973

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I've used the search function and this does not appear to have been covered before (fingers crossed)

NASAs original surveyor plan involved four 'engineering' flights and two 'science' missions. As things worked out the original 'engineering' design proved adequate for pre-Apollo landing site testing.

Below is a detailed report on the spacecraft design that would have become Surveyor 5,6 & 7 had the original plan been stuck with.


http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19670029911_1967029911.pdf
 

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blackstar

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That's interesting. A few years ago I got released a document on Surveyor that detailed essentially a Surveyor Mark II program that JPL was pushing. They wanted to fly additional Surveyor missions with more science content and even a rover. I've got that around somewhere.
 

Jos Heyman

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As originally intended the Surveyor programme was to consist of seven Block I spacecraft and three Block II spacecraft. The latter were to be instrumented but were cancelled due to a lack of funds on 13 December 1966 although some of the instruments were incorporated in the Block I satellites.
The seven Surveyor satellites werer launched from 13 May 1966 to 7 January 1968.
So we may assume that the pictures shown are from the Block II spacecraft.
 

Graham1973

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blackstar said:
That's interesting. A few years ago I got released a document on Surveyor that detailed essentially a Surveyor Mark II program that JPL was pushing. They wanted to fly additional Surveyor missions with more science content and even a rover. I've got that around somewhere.
Was it by any chance the report entitled "Block II Surveyor Study Report"?

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076770_1979076770.pdf

In addition the NTRS has two quarterly reports (Nºs. 3 & 13) into the development of an RTG (SNAP-11) which seems to have been intended for the Block II missions, the Surveyor version in the OP is not the Block II design though, from what little I know it was different again from the A-21A Surveyors.

Finally, something that just struck me, this spacecraft appears to be the 'missing link' between the Surveyors that flew to the Moon and Viking.
 

Jos Heyman

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OK Graham 1973, you have just re-arranged the goal posts ;) and I think I have to get back to the drawing board as far as 'my' Surveyor story is concerned. :-\
 

Graham1973

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Jos Heyman said:
OK Graham 1973, you have just re-arranged the goal posts ;) and I think I have to get back to the drawing board as far as 'my' Surveyor story is concerned. :-\
I'm not so sure I have. At the time the Block II study was written, (Assuming I have read the document correctly), 'Block I' Surveyor missions were to have involved the A-21 (Engineering) & A-21A (Science) Surveyors.

Block II was to have involved a redsigned spacecraft with a fairly intensive program (Assuming Block I to be Surveyor 1 - 7, Block II would have been Surveyor 8 - 25) running Feb 67 to Dec 69.

Unfortunately the report I've linked to has little detail on the final design, but it does contain some interesting hints, as can be seen in the illustration attached (The second picture is a proposed fixed solar panel version, which I'm assuming was intended to allow maximisation of the geophysical studies payload)
 

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blackstar

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Graham1973 said:
Was it by any chance the report entitled "Block II Surveyor Study Report"?
No, that's not it. The document I have has other Surveyor designs, including the rover. I will have to look at it. I vaguely think that it was for a Surveyor "Block III," but I'm not sure of that. The key issue was getting a lander that could survive long-term, through the lunar night.

I wanted to write an article about that, because one of my (many--too many) interests is unflown lunar missions. I'm interested in how American lunar science exploration missions stopped after Apollo and have not resumed until only recently.
 

Graham1973

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blackstar said:
Graham1973 said:
Was it by any chance the report entitled "Block II Surveyor Study Report"?
No, that's not it. The document I have has other Surveyor designs, including the rover. I will have to look at it. I vaguely think that it was for a Surveyor "Block III," but I'm not sure of that. The key issue was getting a lander that could survive long-term, through the lunar night.

I wanted to write an article about that, because one of my (many--too many) interests is unflown lunar missions. I'm interested in how American lunar science exploration missions stopped after Apollo and have not resumed until only recently.
I have a Bendix report into their planned Surveyor Lunar Rover, unfortunately it's a little vague on the full list of changes to Surveyor.
 

blackstar

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They built a basic prototype rover at JPL. I'm trying to remember where I saw the video about it. They introduced a time delay and tried to drive it around a sandbox. The rover was later modified and re-used for new tests in the early 1990s. Last I heard it was stored in a closet at JPL.
 

Graham1973

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blackstar said:
They built a basic prototype rover at JPL. I'm trying to remember where I saw the video about it. They introduced a time delay and tried to drive it around a sandbox. The rover was later modified and re-used for new tests in the early 1990s. Last I heard it was stored in a closet at JPL.
I've taken the step of posting the Bendix Surveyor LRV proposal to a separate thread. The NTRS has some documentation on a competing General Motors proposal, but not enough to give a clear idea of what they envisaged.
 

blackstar

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I dug through my files and found the Surveyor document. My memory was half-right.

What I have is a November 1964 proposal for what is called "Surveyor II." That is after the other documents that you posted--the A21 study, the Block II study (March 1964) and the Bendix rover study (April 1964). Without digging through it right now, it seems to be essentially a more formal proposal that was based upon those earlier works. So they took the ideas both for a Block II Surveyor with more science instruments and longer duration, and the rover idea, and rolled that into a proposal for a new round of Surveyor II spacecraft.

Unfortunately, there was very little chance of this getting funded at the time, because Apollo was eating up a lot of money and there was a good argument to say that NASA didn't really need to do more robotic spacecraft if they were about to land a bunch of men on the Moon who could gather a lot of data.

That said, I wonder if anybody tried to revive this idea after Apollo? It would have made sense to use this proven Surveyor design to go to unexplored parts of the Moon.

I'll see about scanning and posting the document. Unfortunately, this site doesn't allow very big files, so I'm expecting to run into problems doing that.
 

blackstar

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Here are some schematics from the Surveyor report that I mentioned.

I scanned the document in several pieces, but they are all about 1.7 to 2.2 megs, and therefore are too big to post here.
 

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Graham1973

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Thanks,

Just had a look, the Bendix report has a different design for the Surveyor used to transport their rover.
 

Grey Havoc

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Another Surveyor related project, this one a proposed 1969 Apollo mission exploring near and at Surveyor 7's landing site in Tycho crater.


[IMAGE CREDIT: NASA/WIRED.COM]​


The lakes and the tantalizing variety of rocks at the Surveyor 7 site caused some lunar scientists to advocate sending an Apollo mission to Tycho. The crater was well outside the Apollo Zone, but it could be reached during a narrow seasonal launch window if certain Apollo mission planning rules were relaxed.

In August 1969, less than a month after Apollo 11, the first manned moon landing mission, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists worked with Bellcomm, NASA’s Apollo planning contractor, to plan the surface portion of an Apollo Tycho mission. The USGS/Bellcomm team’s mission would begin with a pinpoint LM landing a kilometer southeast of Surveyor 7. The LM’s descent stage would carry enough propellants so that, if the spacecraft descended off course (as had happened on Apollo 11), then the mission’s Commander could take control from the LM computer and pilot it up to half a kilometer toward the designated touchdown point.

On the basis of Surveyor 7 and Lunar Orbiter V images, the Bellcomm/NASA team judged that the Tycho site was too rough and rocky for a lunar rover. They proposed instead that the two Apollo astronauts explore on foot within a radius of operations of about 2.5 kilometers centered on their LM. Proposed new “constant volume” hard suits tougher and more flexible than the fabric Apollo suits would, they anticipated, make possible speedy geologic traverses in rugged terrain. The suits would enable the astronauts to operate on the surface for up to seven hours at a stretch. They would spend 54 hours at the Tycho landing site, or about twice as long as the Apollo 11 astronauts had spent on the Sea of Tranquillity, providing enough time for three seven-hour traverses.

During Traverse I, the USGS/Bellcomm team planned that one of the astronauts would deploy an Apollo Lunar Scientific Experiment Package (ALSEP) about 1.1 kilometers east of the LM. The ALSEP would include a passive seismometer. In addition to establishing a “far southern” station in the Apollo seismometer network, the instrument would exploit naturally occurring moonquakes and asteroid impacts to enable study of Tycho’s subsurface structure. The ALSEP might also include a heat flow experiment to help to determine if the area had experienced recent volcanism, a laser retroreflector, a magnetometer, and a gravimeter.

The other astronaut, meanwhile, would walk along the low ridge visible from Surveyor 7 and sample the boulders there. The two astronauts would then meet up and return to the vicinity of the LM, where they would sample nearby “flow dome material.” Traverse I would total 3.5 kilometers.

During Traverse II, the longest of the Tycho moonwalks, the astronauts would strike north to the “shore” of a prominent kilometer-wide dark lake containing branching trenches. They would examine and sample the lake and trenches, then walk to a point 2.6 kilometers from the LM to sample “darkish radial rim material.” On their way back to the LM, they would visit Surveyor 7 to collect samples of lunar materials it had examined and to salvage parts of the unmanned lander for engineering analysis. Traverse II would total 6.25 kilometers.

The final traverse of the Apollo Tycho mission would see the astronauts walk south 1.3 kilometers to sample another dark lake, then travel another 1.4 kilometers to sample subsurface material exposed by a small fresh impact crater. They would then hike half a kilometer to a raised “flow levee” surrounded by “late smooth flow materials.” Traverse III would total 5.25 kilometers. In all, the astronauts would walk 15 kilometers and collect between 100 and 200 pounds of samples during their three moonwalks.
 

blackstar

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Ive never seen a good discussion of what happened with lunar exploration after Apollo. Of course, it stopped, but certainly there were people who were advocating some missions in the early-mid 1970s.

I know that at least by the later 1970s there were proposals for a "lunar geosciences orbiter," particularly putting a gamma ray spectrometer into orbit. Were there any proposals for rovers or landers? My suspicion is that because the scientists had a lot of samples from several different locations, they turned their attention to gaining a more global view, so they advocated orbiters not landers/rovers.
 

Graham1973

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blackstar said:
Ive never seen a good discussion of what happened with lunar exploration after Apollo. Of course, it stopped, but certainly there were people who were advocating some missions in the early-mid 1970s.

I know that at least by the later 1970s there were proposals for a "lunar geosciences orbiter," particularly putting a gamma ray spectrometer into orbit. Were there any proposals for rovers or landers? My suspicion is that because the scientists had a lot of samples from several different locations, they turned their attention to gaining a more global view, so they advocated orbiters not landers/rovers.
I know of at least one 1970's era proposal to convert the Viking landers/orbiters for lunar use.
 

blackstar

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Graham1973 said:
I know of at least one 1970's era proposal to convert the Viking landers/orbiters for lunar use.
I was going to write that that seems like overkill--the landers would certainly be over-designed for the Moon, which has lower gravity. But then I realized that there would be a certain logic to this in the 1970s. After all, by the 1970s Surveyor was long out of production, and Viking was more modern and recent. In addition, the Viking landers had RTG power supplies, which is what you'd want for a long-duration lunar lander. And if this proposal came after the Vikings had landed, then Viking was a proven design.

Now there are some major differences in landing. Viking used a heatshield and a backshell, and none of that was needed for the Moon. And the craft would have to make a powered descent to the lunar surface, without relying upon atmospheric braking or parachutes. But that might not have been a big deal for Viking.
 

Archibald

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Surveyor and Viking were both products of the JPL - and Viking being more recent and much more sophisticated, poor old Surveyor didn't stood a chance...
 

Michel Van

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correction Viking, was product of Langley Research Center
source
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/viking/viking30_fs.html

by the way
JPL take everything to stop Langley future Viking mission, after Viking 1&2...
info by David S. F. Portree on his now death blog "Beyond Apollo"...
 

Archibald

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My bad. The lander was Langley, only the orbiter was JPL - Mariner heritage.
 

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Small AW article. Thought the photos and information of the landing test were interesting.
 

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