Apollo 11 Plans for Surface Photography


During the early part of August 1994, there has been some discussion on sci.space.tech regarding photography on the surface of the Moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts. This page addresses what was "planned" for that mission, as given in the Apollo 11 Press Kit and the Apollo 11 Flight Plan. These are reproduced below.

In summary, there is some confusion in this documentation concerning whether or not Aldrin was to carry a camera. The Press Kit states that there were two Hasselblads on the LM; however, later it states "Armstrong and Aldrin will use the Hasselblad lunar surface camera extensively during their surface EVA..." "Camera" is singular, and it sounds like there was only one Hasselblad taken to the surface.

In the Flight Plan, the LMP (Aldrin) is scheduled for only a very small amount of photography (about 15 minutes worth, at most), starting around 30 minutes after egress, taking a panorama, views of portions of the LM, and of the "Bulk Sampling Site." Just prior to this photography, the CDR (Armstrong) photographs the "Bulk Sampling Site" prior to sampling, then collects the sample. The first item on that check list is "Camera on MESA," at least consistent with him leaving the camera on the MESA for the LMP to come over to get. As the check list proceeds, at no time are the LMP and CDR acquiring photographs at the same time. The rest of the time the LMP is deploying the EASEP and collecting samples while the CDR is selecting and photographing the EASEP site, carrying cameras (including the closeup camera), and collecting samples. Interestingly, several times during this portion of the plan, the CDR is called out to "Rest/Photo LMP," but the opposite is not specifically called out.

This "plan" is consistent with Aldrin not carrying a camera, and acquiring photographs with Armstrong's camera, although it is also consistent with each carrying and using a camera. The actual EVA executed probably diverged from the plan in specific areas (i.e., how much time was spent doing various things), and it is easy to imagine the pressure to get the experiments deployed (including the solar wind experiment) and rock samples collected led Aldrin to neglect photography.

Apollo 11 Press Kit - Release 69-83K (Sunday, 6 July 1969)

The following is text OCR'd from the referenced document, pg. 79-80.


Still and motion pictures will be made of most spacecraft maneuvers as well as of the lunar surface and of crew activities in the Apollo 11 cabin. During lunar surface activities after lunar module touchdown and the two hour 40 minute EVA, emphasis will be on photographic documentation of crew mobility, lunar surface features and lunar material sample collection.

Camera equipment carried on Apollo 11 consists of one 7Omm Hasselblad electric camera stowed aboard the command module, two Hasselblad 7Omm lunar surface superwide angle cameras stowed aboard the LM and a 35mm stereo close-up camera in the LM MESA.

The 2.3 pound Hasselblad superwide angle camera in the LM is fitted with a 38mm f/4.5 Zeiss Biogon lens with a focusing range from 12 inches to infinity. Shutter speeds range from time exposure and one second to 1/500 second. The angular field of view with the 38mm lens is 71 degrees vertical and horizontal on the square-format film frame.

The command module Hasselblad electric camera is normally fitted with an 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss Planar lens, but bayonet-mount 60ram and 25Omm lens may be substituted for special tasks. The 80mm lens has a focusing range from three feet to infinity and has a field of view of 38 degrees vertical and horizontal.

Stowed with the Hasselblads are such associated items as a spotmeter, ringsight, polarizing filter, and film magazines. Both versions of the Hasselblad accept the same type film magazine.

For motion pictures, two Maurer 16mm data acquisition cameras (one in the CSM, one in the LM) with variable frame speed (1, 6, 12 and 24 frames per second) will be used. The cameras each weigh 2.8 pounds with a 130-foot film magazine attached. The command module 16mm camera will have lenses of 5, 18 and 75mm focal length available, while the LM camera will be fitted with the 18mm wideangle lens. Motion picture camera accessories include a right-angle mirror, a power cable and a command module boresight window bracket.

During the lunar surface extravehicular activity, the commander will be filmed by the LM pilot with the LM 16mm camera at normal or near-normal frame rates (24 and 12 fps), but when he leaves the LM to join the commander, he will switch to a one frame-per-second rate. The camera will be mounted inside the LM looking through the right-hand window. The 18mm lens has a horizontal field of view of 32 degrees and a vertical field of view of 23 degrees. At one fps, a 130-foot 16mm magazine will run out in 87 minutes in real time; projected at the standard 24 fps, the film would compress the 87 minutes to 3.6 minutes.

Armstrong and Aldrin will use the Hasselblad lunar surface camera extensively during their surface EVA to document each of their major tasks. Additionally, they will make a 360-degree overlapping panorama sequence of still photos of the lunar horizon, photograph surface features in the immediate area, make close-ups of geological samples and the area from which they were collected and record on film the appearance and condition of the lunar module after landing.

Stowed in the MESA is a 35mm stereo close-up camera which shoots 24mm square color stereo pairs with an image scale of half actual size. The camera is fixed focus and is equipped with a stand-off hood to position the camera at the proper focus distance. A long handle permits an EVA crewman to position the camera without stooping for surface object photography. Detail as small as 40 microns can be recorded.

A battery-powered electronic flash provides illumination. Film capacity is a minimum of 100 stereo pairs.

The stereo close-up camera will permit the Apollo 11 landing crew to photograph significant surface structure phenomena which would remain intact only in the lunar environment, such as powdery deposits, cracks or holes and adhesion of particles.

Near the end of EVA, the film casette will be removed and stowed in the commander's contingency sample container pocket and the camera body will be left on the lunar surface.

Apollo 11 Flight Plan (Final - 1 July 1969)

The Apollo 11 Flight Plan is in graphical format. The pages relevant to surface photography are 3-79 through 3-81, and are reproduced here as .gif images.

Apollo 11 Flight Plan - 112:00 to 113:00 MET (38.4 KB)

Apollo 11 Flight Plan - 113:00 to 114:00 MET (48.1 KB)

Apollo 11 Flight Plan - 114:00 to 115:00 MET (50 KB)

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