Welcome to KSP Weekly! On August 10, 1966, the Lunar Orbiter 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 13 aboard an Atlas SLV-3 Agena-D to become the first American spacecraft to orbit the moon and the first probe to map the Moon. As part of NASA’s Lunar Orbiter Program, it was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data.
The spacecraft acquired photographic data from August 18 to 29, 1966, and readout occurred through September 14, 1966. A total of 42 high-resolution and 187 medium-resolution frames were taken and transmitted to Earth covering over 5 million square kilometers of the Moon’s surface, accomplishing about 75% of the intended mission, although a number of the early high-resolution photos showed severe smearing. It also took the first two pictures of the Earth ever from the distance of the Moon. Accurate data was acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. Below you can see the first image of Earth taken from the Moon by the Lunar Orbiter 1 probe.
The spacecraft was tracked until it impacted the lunar surface on command at 7 degrees north latitude, 161 degrees east longitude (selenographic coordinates) on the Moon’s far side on October 29, 1966, on its 577th orbit. The early end of the nominal one-year mission was due to the small amount of remaining attitude control gas and other deteriorating conditions and was planned to avoid transmission interference with Lunar Orbiter 2.
The following four missions of the lunar orbiter program were also successful, and collectively they mapped 99 percent of the surface of the Moon from photographs taken with a resolution of 60 meters or better. The first three missions were dedicated to imaging 20 potential manned lunar landing sites, selected based on Earth-based observations. These were flown at low-inclination orbits.
[Development news start here]
We continue to be hard at work on Kerbal Space Program 1.5. As we mentioned last week, one key aspect in this update is going to be the standardization, optimization, and make-over of various graphical assets within the game. As part of this task we looked back at one particular item that looked a bit outdated after the addition of the vintage space suits in the Making History Expansion; we are talking of course of the EVA Space Suits, which are now being given a well-deserved overhaul. We knew that such an iconic element of the game needed to stay true to its identity, so we are keeping its style, while also giving it a sleeker look. In the image below, you can see a comparison between the old and new EVA suits.
Click here for the high res image.
As you can see, not only the suit itself looks better, but the jet pack received a refurbishment. You may also notice that there are two variations on the new EVA look, and here is where you come in… in good old fashion KSP tradition, we will let you choose which variation will be the definite one, so enter this poll to vote for your favorite one. The poll will remain open for a full week and we’ll make the results public in the next KSP Weekly, so stay tuned, and most importantly, help us decide! Here are a couple of GIFs to give you a better look at the suits: Red & White EVA Suit and the Red, Blue & White EVA Suit.
Bug fixing was also in our agenda this week and as such, the team looked at a bug that caused the ambient sounds in the editor to disappear when a user switched between the VAB and the SPH during a new sandbox game. This was particularly noticeable if the music was switched off.
The KSP community never ceases to surprise us! This week we encountered some really cool stuff. First off, we Matt Lowne finally built the actual Hotel for its Minmus Hotel and Casino. Watch him build this gigantic structure and launch it to Minmus in one shot. Click here and enjoy!
The Mission of the Week, the Wrecking Crew, entertained our inner problem child by letting us wreak havoc in the KSC as a self propelled wrecking ball with the sole purpose of destroying everything in our path. Check it out here!
We also want to highlight the Universal Storage Mod! This modular parts mod allows you to build some of the best looking custom service modules out there, while also being highly compatible with the most popular life support mods. There is a lot to like within this mod, so check it out and try it yourself!
Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :)
- Deffree, S. (n.d.). Lunar Orbiter 1 takes 1st photo of Earth from moon orbit, August 23, 1966. Retrieved from http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/edn-moments/4394618/Lunar-Orbiter-1-takes-1st-photo-of-Earth-from-moon-orbit–August-23–1966
- Hamilton, C. J. (n.d.). Lunar Orbiter 1. Retrieved from http://solarviews.com/eng/orbiter1.htm
- E. Bell, II. Lunar Orbiter 1. Retrieved from http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1966-073A