This model of the Lunar Orbiter was an early rendition of what the spacecraft might look like. The actual spacecraft, looking somewhat different, was built in the 1960s and mapped the Moon in preparation for the Apollo landings. It was built for NASA's Langley Research Center by Boeing and launched to the Moon on an Atlas-Agena rocket. A total of five Lunar Orbiters were flown to the Moon. The first three orbited around the Moon's equator and provided detailed photographic coverage of the primary Apollo landing sites, including stereo images. Because of the success of these earlier missions, the final two Lunar Orbiters were placed into a polar orbit so that virtually the entire surface of the Moon was mapped.
In addition to images of the Apollo landing sites, Lunar Orbiter provided many breathtaking photographs, including features on the farside. An oblique view of the crater Copernicus taken by Lunar Orbiter II (frame H-164) was dubbed the "Picture of the Century" by the news media.
Transferred from NASA - Langley Research Center to the Museum in 1974.
Transferred from NASA - Langley Research Center