Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, end of day, January 15, 2014
Well we finished Goldstone and got a good start on Madrid today. As expected there are more head clogs and there are several blank or fogged images in the beginning.
We made it through M4-009 today. That is six more tapes since the last report earlier today, bringing the number of tapes remaining down to 369!
Can you tell I am thrilled to get to this point?
Dennis Wingo Status, late day, Tuesday January 14, 2014.
Came in early today and started on G4-081. Am just finishing up on G4-093. Almost all of the captures today were very long, over 40 minutes and some almost an hour. Captured several hundred gigabytes of images.
The count is now 385 tapes to go!
(Good lord willing and the head holds out of course)
Dennis Wingo Status Status, mid afternoon, Monday January 13, 2014
Things are going pretty good today. We are finally past the point where they were having problems with the spacecraft stopping the image scans. This makes it really hard on us as their fix kept backing up the film, leading to a completely screwed sequence of image scans.
Fortunately I will have the Lunar Orbiter Photography document in my hands in the next few days (it was shipped Jan 7) and can figure out what was going on.
We are currently scanning LOV-G4-076, which puts us at 11 tapes so far today. I am coming in early so that I can get more done per day right now. This puts the remaining tapes at 401! Hopefully I will get at least three more done today, bringing us down to 398!
Dennis Wingo Status, evening, Monday January 13, 2014.
Well I got through G4-080 today. This puts us at 397 tapes to go!
Lots of good captures today. The Goldstone captures end at G4-101 so we have 21 more Goldstone tapes to go. Hopefully finish by mid day Wed and can start on Madrid!
Dennis Wingo Status, end of Day, January 10, 2014.
I have reached my goal today of getting through G4-065. Lots of problems with the spacecraft (not the tape drive) so the captures have been not all that productive.
412 tapes to go!
End of day status, January 9, 2014.
We made it through G4-051 today, though the problem with the rotary transformer dragging continues to reoccur. However, we just found that if we put our finger on one of the switching relays for read/write that are on the head assembly and push gently, the problem goes away. This is good in that we know that there is a mechanical problem NOT associated with the bearings. Much easier to fix or just deal with as replacing the bearings is a far more difficult task.
So, we are half way through Lunar Orbiter IV!
426 tapes to go!
Status update, early afternoon, January 9, 2014
So far so good! Got 038, and 041 rerun and am now running G4-046. Still wanna hit that half way mark today! Right now we are at 431 tapes to go!
Status update, late morning, Jaunary 9, 2014
Well, yesterday was a challenging day. Some tapes worked just fine some had the problem with the head dragging. Kenneth Zin kept readjusting things and it looks like this morning things are running well. Only got through G4-042 yesterday and it looks like I am going to have to rerun G4-038 and G4-041. Grrr, I hate backpacking!
Hopefully today we will get through G4-051. When we hit that milestone we will cross the halfway point for Lunar Orbiter IV!
Austin reminds me that our productivity is at an all time high but I am just obsessed in getting this done now so am spending all of my time running tapes. We are probably closing in if not already passing, the 100,000 frame let point!
Dennis Wingo Status update, late morning, January 8, 2014
Well we are back in the saddle again! Have run two tapes with the head that we though was having bearing problems with no trouble.
The way these heads work is that you have four head tips mounted at 90.00 degrees angle from each other on a rotary drum. The drum with the tips rotates against the tape at 15,000 rpm. The tape is moving by at 12.5 inches per second and thus a relationship between the two is fixed. Any drag on the head or slowing down or speeding up of the tape transport throws this timing off. Since we are dealing with RF signals in the Mhz range, timing is everything.
The magnetic flux is converted into a current at the tips and the windings on the tip. The current is transferred from the rotary drum to what is called a rotary transformer as you cannot have a wire carrying signal from the rotating drum to the fixed head assembly. There are several mechanical parts that have to fit together very closely, yet not rub against each other in order for this to work. What we were getting yesterday was a drag of the rotary part against the fixed part of the head. It was extremely subtle, slowing the head down just a bit, but you could hear the sound.
Ken Zin spent a lot of time checking adjustments and he readjusted the relationship between the mechanical parts and now the head is working fine. This goes to show just how important it is to have someone with a lot of experience in this field working on the project.
We are through tape G4-035 today and current G4-036 is running. This means we are down to 441 tapes to go!
Dennis Wingo end of day Tuesday January 7, 2014
Did I say if the machine cooperates? Looks like we may have a bearing problem in the head that is on the machine right now….. We may have to send it and another head back to Videomagnetics to swap the drum (which holds the head tips) from one to another.
We have another head that has problems that we may be able to get adjusted. Videomagnetics has graciously sent us tools to do the very delicate work to adjust the tip orientation on the heads. It is an extremely difficult task.
We made it through tape G4-033 today but G4-034 just looks like crap as the bearings do a momentary thing where the head slows down and we lose synchronization with the rest of the mechanics….
Status update, mid morning January 7, 2014
Lots of progress yesterday, though much of it for not good reasons. Last Friday we completed the Woomera captures and got the first two Goldstone tapes (G4-001,002) captured. Yesterday we made it all the way through G4-027! That’s the good news. The bad news is that only 11 tapes had usable image data. There are a couple of reasons for this. The story is that a thermal door did not shut completely when commanded, allowing stray light into the spacecraft.
This was eventually fixed with a work around, but many images were lost or too fogged to be of any use. You can see this in some of the gaps in LO-IV images and coverage of the Moon. I had always wondered why there were no images of the southern region of the Moon near the South Pole Atkien basin. Now I know.
Today we are already running and am currently capturing G4-030. If the machine continues to operate smoothly (always a caveat on that one), then by Friday I should get to between G4-70 and G4-80. I am coming in extra time and I hope to push this to get all the way through Goldstone, but that is my stretch goal.
We will see!
Dennis Wingo end of day Thursday January 3, 2014
Well things have gone pretty good today. Started out with W4-096 and am currently running the last Lunar Orbiter IV Woomera tape! The last tape is W4-107 but I skipped W4-102 because of some problems with the control track. It messed up a few frame lets but there is an analog copy of the tape that we can get the missed frame lets from.
If this tape finishes soon we will go ahead and reconfigure the machine to run Lunar Orbiter IV Goldstone tapes and try to run at least one today.
This reduces the number of tapes remaining today down to 477 or less. The countdown is underway!
Remember that the last 280 tapes will go really fast as these are Lunar Orbiter 1 tapes and we only capture the medium res images for the most part.
We recalibrated the FR-900 to run Goldstone tapes late today. This has to happen as in the 1960s no two machines are exactly alike and even though they are supposedly calibrated in the same way, the electronics were not good enough for them to have exactly the same calibration.
Ran two Goldstone tapes, G4-001 and G4-002 with G4-002 overlapping W4-001 for most of the tape. Thus again, like the LO-V tapes the overlaps will not be duplicate captured and thus the number of tapes to run is actually less than the physical number of tapes we have. We are down to 475 tapes to go!
Dennis Wingo end of day Thursday January 2, 2014
2014 what the hell happened, last thing I remember it was 1978!
Anyway, running tapes today. I came in on New Years Eve and made it through W4-085 and today I will finish with W4-095. Every tape was a looong capture. We have had some mechanical problems with the drive with bearings starting to wear out so had to replace an idler arm this morning and the entire Capstan drive motor on New Years eve. We have some new bearings ordered for the idler arm as all of the ones we have are kinda crappy now.
Glad that we originally had enough motors refurbished for two machines. We never really got both machines and demodulators working at the same time so the second machine is turning into a parts donor to keep this one running at peak efficiency.
As of today we have less than 500 total tapes to go, 489 to be exact. That is both Lunar Orbiter IV and Lunar Orbiter 1 tapes together. That is a major milestone for the project. If things go well tomorrow we will complete the captures for Lunar Orbiter IV Woomera tapes and will at least get the machine recalibrated for Goldstone.
Onward and upward!