Moon photos from the 1960s were developed in space—here's how
To find safe places for Apollo astronauts to land, NASA designed five survey satellites carrying classified defense technology.
Before Neil Armstrong could take his historic first step on the moon, NASA needed to know exactly where the Apollo 11 spacecraft could safely set down. In the early 1960s, humankind’s maps of the lunar surface were based on photographs taken from Earth and a few early U.S. and Soviet satellites, none of which could capture the breadth and detail needed to find landing sites clear of hazardous boulders and craters.
That’s why the space agency launched its Lunar Orbiter program, a fleet of five nearly identical, van-size satellites sent out in 1966 and 1967 to map the moon. Lunar Orbiter 3, which took pictures from February 15 to 23 in 1967, confirmed safe landing sites for the