Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Apollo Command Module ephemeris

Google Earth lunar Digital Elevation Model (DEM) assembled from Apollo J mission (15, 16 and 17) metric orbital photography. The recovered J mission Command Module ephemeris is now posted on the Apollo Scan Project webpage at Arizona State University. The J mission orbital mapping cameras were confined to equatorial latitudes. The belt confined over the south on the nearside was represents photography from Apollo 16, in service to its landing site near the Descartes formation in the southern highlands.
Mark Robinson
Arizona State University

The Apollo Command Module ephemeris were originally recorded to paper, and then later transferred to microfilm. The National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) scanned the microfilm records containing the state vector data and these files were received by Arizona State University (ASU). 

An in-house custom Optical Character Recognition (OCR) algorithm converted the raster images of the microfilm scans to text format. Manual methods were implemented to read and record values that failed OCR conversion. The final values of the OCR conversion, manual efforts, and subsequent validation are stored in spreadsheets and converted to the NASA SPICE kernel format. Please note that the newly posted data are "first-run" files, and new improved versions will likely be uploaded in the future.

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