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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System

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Author Topic:   Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System
onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 05-19-2013 07:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just saw a remarkable photo on the NASA History Facebook page of the Apollo 10 stack after launch. It almost looks as if the Saturn V was flying in formation with the aircraft that took its picture.

A question: what type(s) of aircraft carried the Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System (ALOTS), and when did it start to be used and until when?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-19-2013 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As mentioned in this related thread, the Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System was mounted on a C-135 aircraft.

Headshot
Member

Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 05-21-2013 07:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a bit more background to ALOTS.

The system was manufactured by Norhtrop and used a 20-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope mounted in a pod. The pod itself was fixed to the left side of a KC-135.

Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-21-2013 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. As far as I am aware only Celestron Pacific was routinely producing telescopes with those characteristics back in the 1960s. Did each ALOTS come equipped with one of these 20-inch "blue & white" tube assembly beauties?

Jim Behling
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Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 05-21-2013 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, they were purpose built and were actually for looking at Soviet RVs.

Headshot
Member

Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 05-21-2013 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Celestron's advertisements from the period state that they final figured the optical system, but does not boast that they actually supplied the optical components.

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