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  Apollo 12: 'Pete's Parking Lot' landing site

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Author Topic:   Apollo 12: 'Pete's Parking Lot' landing site

Posts: 749
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-21-2022 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Apollo 12, I believe the exact landing target near Surveyor Crater was nicknamed "Pete's Parking Lot." However as things turned out I believe they did not land there.

The (LROC?) photo below has been annotated to show four landing sites in the vicinity of Surveyor Crater. Conrad mentions that they "flew past" their intended landing point and they landed a bit further west (he initially surmises they are between site 3 and site 4). Was site 1 the intended "Pete's Parking Lot"?


Posts: 1047
From: Vancouver, WA, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-21-2022 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Check out pg 56, of the 19 Nov. 1969 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology. They include a Lunar Orbiter photo-mosaic map of the Apollo 12 landing site. A lunar module cutout is positioned 1118 ft to the northeast of Surveyor 3. This site is somewhat east of the "Snowman's" left foot to the point it would not appear on the LRO picture above.

If this was indeed, Conrad's target landing site, it would explain why he said that he flew past their intended landing site.


Posts: 406
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 01-28-2022 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I could be wrong on this, but what I remember reading somewhere is the person responsible for programming the landing sequence asked Conrad where he wanted to land. Over the course of several days those landing points were changed until one day the programmer asked Conrad again and Conrad basically said, "Put me in the middle of Surveyor Crater and I'll figure it out when I get there."

If you look at all of Pete's redesignations during landing, that's basically what happened. It's not that Conrad wanted to land in the middle of the crater, he just wanted to make sure he was close enough to walk to it.


Posts: 1632
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 02-12-2022 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Prior to the flight, a Ryan Aeronautical Company artist concept shows "Pete's Parking Lot" northeast of Surveyor Crater but a bit closer than 1118 feet.


Posts: 65
Registered: Nov 2015

posted 02-13-2022 08:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavyPilot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As most of you probably know, MPAD's (Mission Planning and Analysis Division) Emil Schiesser, he of MasCon note, also had a substantial influence on the mission design to slew the LPD (Landing Point Designator) in flight as a means to improve landing guidance accuracy for Apollo 12's close approach.

Famously, Neil Armstrong was effusive in Emil's praise. Clearly a smart, smart guy.

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