Apollo 12 Streaks Homeward With Pieces of Surveyor III for Analysis—Hughes News November 21, 1969 Transcribed by Faith MacPherson

Hughesite States Studies Could Aid Future Systems

 Pieces of the Hughes-built Surveyor III spacecraft are among the precious cargo being carried homeward by Apollo 12 as it streaks back to earth from the moon.

Astronauts Charles “Pete” Conrad and Alan Bean gathered the pieces Wednesday night and the latter reported “I got all the parts I wanted.” He added after he snipped off the Soil Mechanics Surface Sampler, “I got an extra sample for you Houston.”

The astronauts, who had practiced removing desired pieces from the T-21 model at JPL before the Apollo 12 mission, used special cutters to retrieve Surveyor III’s parts Wednesday. Among the key pieces sought were the entire TV camera, polished and painted aluminum framing, cabling, Mylar insulation material, and a mirror.

Value Explained

Edward I. Hawthorne, senior spacecraft manager during the Surveyor Program, will head a Hughes-JPL team of scientists who will analyze the pieces to determine micrometeorite collision, radiation, solar wind, and ultraviolet effects caused by the hostile lunar environment.

“Knowledge gained from the study could be of major importance in the future to help us select materials, design components, and make equipment for long-term manned and unmanned systems to explore the lunar surface of the outer planets,” Dr. Hawthorne said.


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About Jack Fisher

Jack was a systems engineer at Hughes from 1961 to 1992. He contributed to various programs including Surveyor, Pioneer Venus, Galileo, Intelsat VI and innumerable proposals. He was the manager of of the Spacecraft Systems Engineering Lab until his retirement. Upon retirement Jack taught systems engineering at a number of national and international venues.