Lunar Orbiter 5
Image of the Earth taken by Lunar Orbiter 5, enhanced by LOIRP
Mission typeLunar orbiter
COSPAR ID1967-075A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.2907
Mission duration183 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLangley Research Center
Launch mass385.6 kilograms (850 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust 1, 1967, 22:32:00 (1967-08-01UTC22:32Z) UTC
RocketAtlas SLV-3 Agena-D
Launch siteCape Canaveral LC-13
End of mission
Decay dateJanuary 31, 1968 (1968-02-01)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Semi-major axis4,846.8 kilometers (3,011.7 mi)
Periselene altitude194.5 kilometers (120.9 mi)
Aposelene altitude6,023 kilometers (3,743 mi)
Inclination85 degrees
Period510.08 minutes
Lunar orbiter
Orbital insertionAugust 5, 1967
Impact site2°47′S 83°01′W / 02.79°S 83.01°W / -02.79; -83.01
None →

Lunar Orbiter 5, the last of the "Lunar Orbiter series",[2] was designed to take additional Apollo and Surveyor landing site photography and to take broad survey images of unphotographed parts of the Moon's far side. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data and was used to evaluate the Manned Space Flight Network tracking stations and Apollo Orbit Determination Program.

Mission summary

The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and on August 5, 1967 was injected into an elliptical near polar lunar orbit 194.5 by 6,023 kilometres (120.9 mi × 3,742.5 mi) with an inclination of 85 degrees and a period of 8 hours 30 minutes. On August 7 the perilune was lowered to 100 kilometers (62 mi), and on August 9 the orbit was lowered to a 99-by-1,499-kilometer (62 mi × 931 mi), 3 hour 11 minute period.[3]

The spacecraft acquired photographic data from August 6 to 18, 1967, and readout occurred until August 27, 1967.[4] A total of 633 high resolution and 211 medium resolution frames at resolution down to 2 meters (6 ft 7 in) were acquired, bringing the cumulative photographic coverage by the five Lunar Orbiter craft to 99% of the Moon's surface.[5] Accurate data were acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. The spacecraft was tracked until it struck the lunar surface on command[3] at 2.79 degrees S latitude, 83 degrees W longitude (selenographic coordinates) on January 31, 1968.

Features on the near side of the Moon that were photographic targets included Petavius, Hyginus, Messier, Tycho, Copernicus, Gassendi, Vitello, Mons Gruithuisen Gamma, Prinz, Aristarchus, Vallis Schroteri, Marius Hills, Montes Apenninus, Rimae Plato, Sinus Aestuum, Hipparchus, Rimae Sulpicius Gallus, Rimae Calippus, Censorinus, Dionysius, and the future landing site of Apollo 11.[6]

Spacecraft orbit and photographic coverage on the near side (left) and far side (right)
Lunar Photographic Studies : Evaluation of Apollo and Surveyor landing sites
Detectors :
Detection of micrometeoroids in the lunar environment
Caesium Iodide Dosimeters : Radiation environment en route to and near the Moon
Selenodesy : Gravitational field and physical properties of the Moon

See also


  1. ^ "Lunar Orbiter 5". NASA's Solar System Exploration website. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "DESTINATION MOON: A history of the Lunar Orbiter Program". NASA. 1976. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Lunar Orbiter 5 Description and Mission Summary". NASA. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  4. ^ "In depth: Lunar Orbiter 5". NASA. August 7, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  5. ^ "Lunar Orbiter Photo Gallery - Mission 5". Lunar and Planetary Institute.
  6. ^ Hansen, Thomas P. "Guide to Lunar Orbiter Photographs" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved November 13, 2022.