VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVE DOCUMENTING SURVEYORS 2 AND 3
[NASA]. [Archive of vintage black-and-white photographs documenting Surveyors 2 and 3]. [Los Angeles: Hughes Aircraft, 1965]. Sixty-nine black-and-white photographs, most measuring 4 by 5 inches or 8 by 10 inches, in protective sleeves with card backings. $2500.
Sixty-nine vintage black-and-white photographs documenting the assembly and transport of Surveyors 2 and 3, two of the spacecraft NASA used to scout lunar landing sites for the Apollo program.
"Following the Ranger missions, NASA's Surveyor program was designed to find a way to safely land on the Moon. After three practice missions, five of the seven Surveyor spacecraft made it to the Moon" (NASA). This intriguing archive of 69 black-and-white photographs documents the assembly and transportation of Surveyors 2 and 3. Taken in June and July of 1965, images include the encapsulation of Surveyor 2; Surveyor 2 after separation spring installation; Surveyor 3 placed in an airlock for post-assembly transport; testing Surveyor 3's transport equipment on the way to the launch complex; loading the craft aboard an Air Force transport plane, its clamshell doors open; the craft wrapped in plastic; the transport vehicle's chain assembly; numerous views of the Surveyor Oxidizer purge cart; a Polaroid photo of the Surveyor Oxizider tank; and more. The Surveyor 2 mission was unsuccessful. When one of the craft's three thrusters failed to ignite, it spun out of control and crashed southeast of Copernicus crater on September 23, 1966. Surveyor 3, however, landed on April 20, 1967 and "made further inroads into preparations for human missions… Using a surface sampler to study the lunar soil, [it] conducted experiments to see how the lunar surface would fare against the weight of an Apollo lunar module… [The lander] also gathered information on the lunar soil's radar reflectivity and thermal properties" (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). The Apollo 12 crew retrieved pieces of Surveyor 3 so that scientists could study how the lander's exposure to the lunar environment affected it. Of the 69 photographs, 53 measure 4 by 5 inches, 16 measure 8 by 10 inches and one, the Polaroid, measures 4-1/4 by 7 inches. Verso of each photograph stamped with date and explanatory text. Some photographs with marginal punch holes, indicating they were, or were meant to be, grouped in a catalogue.
A fascinating collection of photographs in excellent condition.