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  Location of lunar rover for Apollo LM liftoff

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Author Topic:   Location of lunar rover for Apollo LM liftoff
Captain Apollo
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Posts: 260
From: UK
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 04-16-2011 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was there a reason why the lunar rover was parked behind the LM to broadcast the liftoff?

Every time I watch the footage I think "why don't we have a frontal view of the LM?" It might even have been able to zoom into the windows prior to the launch.

Fra Mauro
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From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 04-16-2011 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Probably becuase the angle of the takeoff allowed for a longer view from the rear, although I agree with you that the frontal view would have been better.

Aztecdoug
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From: Huntington Beach
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posted 04-16-2011 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I always assumed it was for the lighting. They always landed with the Sun at their backs. If the rover was in front the camera might look straight into the Sun. Just my theory though.

Tom
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From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 04-16-2011 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree Doug.

This photo taken of Antares during Apollo 14 shows the Sun directly in the cameras view.

Blackarrow
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From: Belfast, United Kingdom
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posted 04-16-2011 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would have been impossible for the lunar rover's TV camera to follow a launch if parked in front of the LM. The ascent stage would have exited the picture around pitchover, and since the camera couldn't tilt backwards, that would have been the end of the coverage. And of course the sun would have grossly interfered with the view.

golddog
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Posts: 210
From: australia
Registered: Feb 2008

posted 04-16-2011 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would not the sun have also done to the TV camera what occurred to the camera on Apollo 12?

Obviousman
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From: NSW, Australia
Registered: May 2005

posted 04-17-2011 04:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Obviousman   Click Here to Email Obviousman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I recall correctly, the later cameras had an improved AGC function so it couldn't happen again.

Captain Apollo
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From: UK
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 04-17-2011 07:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought the camera did tilt backwards on 17?

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 04-17-2011 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The camera tilted up on 17 just barely enough to catch the LM at its highest point relative to the Rover (i.e., at pitchover). Looking at photos of the camera, I would guess that it couldn't tilt up more than 60 degrees.

Captain Apollo
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From: UK
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posted 04-17-2011 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if it could have been parked so that the LM obscured the sun sufficiently and so that the pitch up of the camera was adequate to at least catch some of the ascent. It would have made for a magnificent image even if truncated compared to the footage shot from the rear.

Dwight
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From: Germany
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 04-18-2011 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwight   Click Here to Email Dwight     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The TV camera on the LRV had built in compensation for pointing at the sun. However as has been pointed out, shooting from front-on would have created problems due to the sun causing the compensation controls to kick in and darken the image. Also given the direction of pitchover, parking behind the LM offered greatest coverage time.

Space Cadet Carl
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Posts: 199
From: Lake Orion, Michigan
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 04-19-2011 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Cadet Carl   Click Here to Email Space Cadet Carl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's amazing that Ed Fendell was able to track Challenger's lunar liftoff as long as he did. He certainly deserved the Emmy Award he later received from the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Fendell describes how difficult it was to anticipate and push his console buttons to pan and zoom the rover camera a full 2 1/2 seconds before the event was happening. But to this very day... Fendell still kicks himself for not being able to track Challenger for longer than he did.

Max Q
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Posts: 399
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 04-19-2011 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Space Cadet Carl:
It's amazing that Ed Fendell was able to track Challenger's lunar liftoff as long as he did.

I agree and the Shots where awesome but I have often wondered would it have been possible to automate the camera pan & zoom.

kr4mula
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Posts: 642
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 04-19-2011 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can read Ed Fendell's story about how they managed this in the JSC Oral History I did with him a decade or so ago. He discusses the camera starting on page 55, but gets into this part of the story on page 60-61. he mentions the problems with getting the Apollo 15 (busted camera motor) and 16 (Rover parked in the wrong spot) liftoffs. Incidentally, he was a great guy to talk to.

Dwight
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Posts: 576
From: Germany
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 04-21-2011 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwight   Click Here to Email Dwight     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Max Q:
I agree and the Shots where awesome but I have often wondered would it have been possible to automate the camera pan & zoom.

While technically possible, the GCTA was never designed to be automated. Either Houston controlled it, or the astronauts themselves. It was far easier just to have Ed Fendell hit the buttons at the appropriate time rather than attempt an automatic system.

A little known fact is that discussion was made to televise the launch of Apollo 11 LM via the EASEP power supply and the S-band antenna (which was never actually deployed on Apollo 11). The idea was nixed as it was felt it was too close to the mission to implement. the camera would have remained static, though moved backed more than it was during the actual EVA.

You can read more about it in "Live TV From the Moon" in the Apollo 11 chapter.

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