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Soviet Space Cameras

Soviet engineers pioneered the use of cameras on spacecraft, obtaining the first images of the
far side of the Moon and the first images from the surface of the Moon and Venus. Soviet
planetary spacecraft used cycloramic and swept linear photometers rather than vidicon
television cameras. On later American missions, the Viking lander's panoramic camera and the
Mars Odyssey linear pushbroom camera hark back to Soviet camera designs.

1. Luna-3
2. Mars-1
3. Zond-3, Luna-12, Venera-2
4. Mars-5 Orbiter
5. Experimental
6. Experimental
7. Luna-9, Mars-3 Landers
8. Luna-19, Luna-22
9. Mars-5, Venera-9 Orbiter
10. Earth orbiter (Meteor)
11. Earth orbiter
12. Venera-9 Lander
Vidicon-tube cameras were first deployed in space as part of the "Seliger" system, built by I.L.
Valik at the Leningrad Scientific Research Institute of Television (NII-380). It was installed on the
Vostok manned spacecraft. Based on an earlier videophone project, it used two cameras, with
persistent LI-23 iconoscope tubes. It output a 50 KHz video signal (10 frames per second, 100
lines per frame) on an 83 MHz carrier.

Iu.A. Gagarin on Vostok-1 V.V. Tereshkova on Vostok-6
The Seliger system was tested during the 1960 launches of the Vostok capsule (codenamed
Object-K). Sputnik-5, also called Spaceship Sputnik-2, containing the space dogs Belka and
Strelka, whose images are often mistaken for the dog Laika. In 1961, Iurii A. Gagarin became
the first man in space, on Vostok-1. Vostok-2 and thereafter used an improved 400-line
television system. NII-380 retained control of Earth-orbiting imaging systems, including
cosmonaut video systems, Molniia and early Meteor cloud cameras, and the phototelevision
system on early Zenit spy satellites. However around this time, Riazanskii's bureau was given
control of all deep-space imaging systems.
For deep space missions, Soviet designers eschewed vidicon tube cameras, unlike their
American counterparts. Television tubes suffered from low resolution, pincushion and barrel
distortion, uneven cathode brightness, and generally poor picture quality. In the context of
distant planetary imaging, low telemetry rates would require the storage of video images or
very slow readout of the photocathode, both problematic tasks then. For surveying a
landscape, a mechanism would be needed to pan a television camera across the scene. It was
difficult to construct a panorama from these distorted and uneven images.
The Photoelectron Multiplier Tube
The most sensitive method of measuring light, even today, is the photoelectron multiplier.
Invented by L.A. Kubetskii in 1930, photomultipliers have low noise characteristics, can be
linear or logarithmic in response, and are capable of tremendous amplification, even to the
point of counting individual photons. These devices were used extensively on Soviet spacecraft,
in cameras, spectrometers and scintillator detectors.

Front-End Photomultiplier Tube The First Photomultiplier Tube
A photon striking the thin photocathode at the front of the tube, kicks out an electron. It is
accelerated by electric potential and strikes the first dynode, which kicks out a number of
secondary electrons. A series of accelerating voltages and dynodes results in an avalanche of
electrons reaching the final anode. Dynode voltage can be controlled to produce highly linear
response to light, or to create a logarithmic photometer.
Generally photoelectron emission is more energetic for shorter wavelengths, starting with near
infrared and becoming stronger toward ultraviolet and x-ray. The tube's window is transparent
to selected wavelengths, glass admitting visible light, quartz allowing ultraviolet rays, and
beryllium windows allowed the measurement of solar x-rays. The makeup of the photocathode
also effects the spectral response. For even sensitivity across the visible spectrum, multialkali
cathodes (sodium, potassium, cesium, antimony) were commonly used in cameras. For
extended infrared sensitivity, cameras used tubes with silver oxide and cesium cathodes, and
beryllium bronze photocathodes were used for hard-ultraviolet and X-ray sensors.
Phototelevision Cameras
The first cameras in space used photographic film, which was automatically developed and
scanned for transmission to Earth. This seems mechanically complex, but in the context of 1959
technology, this approach had several advantages. Film could rapidly capture an image, far
beyond the resolution and sensitivity of vidicon television tubes. An enormous amount of visual
information could be stored on a roll of film. The images could then be repeatedly rewound and
scanned at whatever rate was convenient for telemetry transmission. The American Lunar
Orbiter missions adopted the same strategy six years later.

Luna-3 Camera ("Enisei") Receiving/Recording System
The Enisei camera system was developed at the Leningrad Scientific Research Institute of
Television (NII-380) by P.F. Bratslavets and others. Adjacent frame pairs were simultaneously
exposed, through 500 mm and 200 mm objective lenses, onto 35 mm aerial-reconnaissance
film (obtained from American spy balloons, according to one Russian account). The system
cycled through four exposure times, 1/200 to 1/800 sec, as it photographed the Moon.
After photography, the film was automatically developed, fixed and dried in chambers of
chemicals, and then scanned by a flying spot CRT and a photomultiplier tube. It could scan the
film slowly at 1000 pixels per line resolution and 1.25 lines per second, or rapidly at 50 lines per
second, during its return orbit to Earth.
The radio system was developed by E.Ia. Boguslavskii, at the Research Institute for Space Device
Engineering (RNII-KP). He championed the use of impulse transmitters, which later enabled
remarkable telemetry rates from planetary distances. However, on Luna-3, Boguslavskii
surprised his colleagues by constructing a continuous-carrier FM video transmitter, operating
on 183.6 MHz.

Luna-3 Frame 28 Frame 29
On October 7, 1959, Man's first view of the far side of the Moon was returned by Luna-3. A pair
of frames at correct relative size, show typical 500 mm and 200 mm views. Locked in 3-axis
stabilization, the spacescraft spent 40 minutes photographing the Moon, then resumed spin
stabilization. The camera held 40 frames, and frames 26 to 38 were definately received and
recorded in full resolution. Some reports claim 17 frames were recorded. Six frames have been
published. The mission was timed to photograph the fully illuminated Moon, but this angle of
light meant low terrain contrast.
The periodic bands of static seen in the frames above were due to spacecraft spin and dead
spots in its antenna's radiation pattern. Temporary receivers were set up in the Crimea and
Kamchatka, with magnetic tape, 35mm film recording and instant thermal-paper recording
devices. The high-gain telemetry receiving stations in Simferopol and Evpatoriia were not
completed in time for Luna-3's flight. Photographs were made from the magnetic tape
recordings, at varying amplifications, to study the full range of signal contrasts.
The Mars probe, 1M, was designed to carried an identical or very similar camera in 1960. Image
transmission was on 3.7 GHz, the continuous-carrier Pluto telemetry signal, it probably did not
contain an impulse transmitter. The camera was later removed to save weight, after the
optimum-energy launch window was missed. Both 1M probes were subsequently destroyed by
rocket failures.

Mars-1 Camera
Mars-1, in 1962, contained a complex 32-kilogram camera. It contained both 35 and 750 mm
lenses and used 70 mm film. It alternately shot square images and larger 31 rectangular
images. It had a capacity of 112 pictures on a roll of film, and these could be scanned at 1440,
720 lines or 68 lines for rapid preview. Individual frames could be rescanned and transmitted
later, by telecommand. The camera system may have been built by Bratslavets, but after this
time, deep-space camera systems were constructed in the Research Institute of Space Device
The camera is also reported to have contained an ultraviolet spectrograph. The UV spectrum
was projected onto the film next to the picture. A 3-4 micron infrared diffraction spectrometer
was also onboard and oriented parallel to the axis of the camera. Both the UV and IR
spectrometers were designed by A.I. Lebedinskii.
The camera contained its own 6 GHz transmitter using pulse position modulation. The 50 watt
transmitter worked by emitting 25,000 watt pulses of very short duration. This was before the
invention of redundant coding systems, and high-power impulse transmission was an ingenious
method for increasing data bandwidth over distances of 300 million kilometers. This system
was probably built by Boguslavskii. Image were sent as discrete pixels, but gray levels were
probably encoded as analog pulse position, not binary digital values. The high-quality
transmission rate was 90 pixels per second, requiring about 6 hours to send a 14401440
This camera was also carried by a similar spacecraft on an unpublicized 1962 photo-flyby
mission to Venus. Radio contact with Mars-1 was lost at 106 million km, due to loss of attitude-
control propellant. The Venus probe was stranded in parking orbit.

Zond-3 Camera Diagram
1. Radiation-Shielded Film
2. Film Gate & Focal Plane
3. 106 mm Objective Lens
4. Film Advance & Lock
5. Heated Film Developer
6. Drying Drum
7. Moisture Absorber
8. Servo Rollers
9. Slot thru Rewind Reel
10. Scanner Window with Condenser
11. Drive Shaft & Tension Roller
12. Take-Up Reel
13. Precision Stepper Motor
14. Control & Video Electronics
15. Stabilized Pinpoint Light Source
16. Oscillating Mirror
17. Logarithmic Photomultiplier (FEU-54)
18. UV Spectrograph Input
Zond-2, a 1964 Mars attempt, carried a 6.5 kilogram camera system, designed by Arnold S.
Selivanov and remarkably miniaturized compared to the massive Mars-1 camera. 25.4 mm film
was used, with up to 40 images on a roll. Once developed, the film could be scanned rewound
on command, at 1100 or 550 lines per picture.

Far Side of Moon from Zond-3 UV Spectrum
The 1965 Zond-3 mission returned 23 pictures (with orange filter) and an UV spectra of the far
side of the Moon. A 106.4 mm objective lens was used on this camera. In addition, some test
patterns were pre-exposed at the start and end of the film. Images were taken and developed
every 2.25 minutes, with alternating 1/100 and 1/300 second exposures. A rapid 67 line/picture
survey scan was first performed, and then commands were sent to rescan images at high
resolution, with some resent several times. It continued on to a distance equivalent to Mars fly-
by, rewinding the film and testing image transmission several times.
As before, a 5-centimeter-band impulse transmitter sent pixel values to Earth, or alternatively,
an 8-centimeter-band continuous wave transmitter could send the results. Most likely, both
systems were tested at various distances. In high-quality mode, images were sent at 550 pixels
per second (2 seconds per scanline), requiring 34 minutes to send a 1100110 image.
A 285-355 nm UV spectrograph was incorporated into the camera and recorded onto three
frames of the film. A second, coaxial, UV spectrometer measured 190-275 with a
photomultiplier detector and output digital telemetry. A coaxial 3-4 micron IR spectrometer
was included on Mars missions, to investigate common organic molecular absorption bands,
and a 6-40 micro IR spectrometer was included on Venus missions to investigate thermal
balance. Spectrometers were designed by A.I. Lebedinskii and V.A. Krasnopol'skii.
Zond-2 may have carried two of these cameras with 200 and 500 mm lenses, but failed en route
to Mars. Luna-12 carried two cameras of this design (one with a 500 mm lens) in a low-altitude
lunar orbit in 1966. Luna-12 returned 40 images per camera at a doubled scanning speed. An
identical mission on Luna-11 experienced a failure of its orientation system and photographed
black space. Venera-2 carried one camera with a 200 mm lens to Venus, but the spacecraft
failed before its final planetary-encounter telemetry playback.

M-69 Phototelevision Complex Pressurized Housing
The M-69 orbiter, a 1969 Mars attempt, contained three cameras of more advanced design, with
lenses of 35, 50 and 250 mm. A wheel of glass filters (red, green, blue, clear) is used by one
camera (or perhaps shared by two cameras) to take color photographs. They each held 160
images on a specially designed film. Upon arrival, the film was chemically activated, so it would
not be exposed by cosmic radiation during the long flight. Images were scanned at 10241024
resolution and transmitted by pulse position modulation on 6 GHz. Unfortunately, the two M-69
probes were destroyed in launch failures of the new Proton rocket.
In 1971, Mars-2 and Mars-3 entered orbit. They each carried two phototelevision cameras with
52 mm and 350 mm objectives. Little telemetry was received from Mars-2, due to telemetry
systems problems. Mars-3 performed well, but its centimeter-band impulse transmitter failed,
and images were returned on the pulse-code-modulated decimeter band. Only 60 images were
taken from December 1971 through March of 1972, some of which were transmitted, but only at
a low 250-line resolution.

Mars-5 Camera "Zufar", 350 mm Mars-5 Camera "Vega", 52 mm
Mars-4 and Mars-5 orbiters carried the Mars-3 style phototelevision cameras on their 1973
mission. The operation was essentially the same as the Zond-3 camera, with various technical
improvements in the optics of the film scanner, using a newer FEU-103 photomultiplier tube. It
held 480 frames on 20 meters of 25.4mm film, stored in a radiation-shielded magazine.
Exposure alternated between 1/50 and 1/150 second, with a thin calibration image between each
frame. After development the film could be rewound and scanned at various rates, by
telecommand. Ten scanning options were available. In practice, images were all transmitted for
preview at 235220, nominal resolution was 940880, and particularly interesting pictures were
retransmitted at 18801760 pixels, the highest quality mode. \
Transmission of images was carried out by a special purpose impulse transmitter and pulse
position modulation. Rates of 512 or 1024 pixels per second could be selected. 1024 pixels/sec is
sometimes given as "6144 bits/sec", assuming that 6 bits is approximately the information in an
analog pixel value. All other telemetry was sent by the regular onboard transmitter, as digital
data on a phase modulated continuous carrier.

Image from Mars-5 (350 mm lens) Image from Mars-5 (52 mm lens)
As on Mars-3, two cameras were installed on each spacecraft, one with a 350mm telescopic
cassegrain lens with an orange longpass filter ("Zufar-2CA"), and the other with a 52mm lens
and four color filters ("Vega-3MCA"). These weighed 9.2 and 8.5 kilograms, respectively. The
wide-angle camera could be operated with the red filter, the orange filter or a mode of
sequentially shooting through red, green and blue. Mars-4 returned 12 images during a fly-by,
and Mars-5 returned 108 images in the course of its orbiting survey.
The American Lunar Orbiter missions (1966-1967) carried film cameras with automatic
development and scanning. While the narrow-angle images were badly motion blurred, the wide
angle images were the highest quality pictures taken of the Lunar surface up to that point.
Optical-Mechanical Cycloramic Cameras
Selivanov and Iuri M. Gektin designed landscape cameras for Moon, Mars and Venus landers.
Instead of panning a television camera, he decided to scan the scene with a pinpoint photometer.
This required a much simpler apparatus with some advantages. A precise measurement of
luminance was made at each pixel, and the entire landscape was returned as a single seamless
These cameras probably evolved from early cycloramic telephotometers by A.M. Kasatkin and
others, used for low-resolution UV imaging and photometry from high altitude rockets. Luna-4
through Luna-8 contained a cycloramic optical-mechanical camera built by I.A. Rosselevich's
team at the Leningrad Scientific Research Institute of Television. It was heavier and lower
resolution than Selivanov's Luna-9 camera, and it operated inside a pressurized glass cylinder
instead of being exposed to vacuum.

On the Luna-9 camera, seen above, the objective lens was focused at the hyperfocal distance,
returning a sharp image of terrain between 1.5 meters and the horizon. Logarithmic photometry
and automatic gain control (governed by a photocell) allowed the camera to operate with a wide
range of luminance, from 80 to 150,000 lux. Sensitivity could also be adjusted by telecommand.
The PMT and amplifer were the same as in the film scanner of the Zond-3 phototelevision
camera. Remarkably, while containing vacuum tubes, a motor and the 1700 volt power supply
for the PMT, the camera weighed 1.3 kilograms and consumed only 2.5 watts.
The upper assembly with oscillating mirror and motor rotated freely in the metal sleeve, making
electrical contact through brushes. Scanning was vertical, with slow rotation to sweep out the
horizontal image swath. The finely built mechanical action of the mirror was precise to 1/3 pixel
spacing. A full 29 360 panorama of 6000 vertical lines could be returned in 100 minutes. On
command, the camera could scan forward, in reverse, or at 4 speed for quick survey or
positioning. A 250 Hz analog video signal was generated, which was frequency modulated on a
1.5 KHz subcarrier. That in term was phase modulated onto the 183.538 MHz telemetry carrier.
250 cycles per line is theoretically equivalent to 500 pixels, which is how the resolution is often
reported. Lunar images were sent as analog video, because a strong communication channel
could be established between the Moon and the 32-meter dish at Simferopol. For later missions
to Mars and Venus, the video signal was digital from camera to ground station.

The images above show part of the lunar landscape revealed by the Luna-13 camera. Pieces of
the landing craft are seen in the distance on the left view. On the right, a detail at original
resolution shows the extended gamma-ray densitometer and a close view of the lunar soil. These
first landers relieved fears that the lunar surface might be composed of dust, into which
spacecraft would sink.
It is important to remember that we can only see scans of printed images, many generations of
duplication from the original electronic signal. Unless the magnetic tapes of the FM video signal
are read and processed into modern digital images, we will not see the true quality of these

Luna-9 was the first spacecraft to land on the Moon, using an airbag landing system similar to
the recent Mars Pathfinder. In 1966, it returned three panoramas. Its signals were also intercepted
by the British radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, and a Manchester newspaper published the
pictures before the Russian press.
Luna-13 returned five panoramas from another landing site, later that year. Taken over several
days, they show the surroundings under different angles of illumination (the Moon rotates 13
per day). It had two cameras for redundancy or stereo, but one failed.
In 1971, Mars-3 was the first spacecraft to land on the red planet. Two cycloramic cameras were
installed, as on Luna-13. Like the second generation lunar cameras, they had 500 6000 pixel
resolution, and scanned at 4 lines per second.

Unfortunately, contact with the lander was lost after only returning 15 to 20 seconds of video
from each camera. This fragmentary image of 79 scanlines has been reported to be featureless,
despite extensive computer analysis by Soviet scientists. The plotter, shown above in a Soviet
documentary on Mars-3, is drawing the video signal in horizontal strokes. The image is often
misinterpreted as a view of the Martian horizon, but the cycloramic camera was transmitting
vertical strokes, just as the Luna-9 camera did. Thus the image should be rotated 90, and its
interpretation is unclear.
America's first Mars landers, in 1976, adopted the Soviet style of cycloramic cameras, using a
mechanically swept 512-pixel linear CCD.

The second generation lunar missions contained improved versions of the cycloramic cameras,
scanning at 4 strokes/second, and using the more stable and sensitive FEU-96 photomultiplier
tube. Automatic gain control for these cameras, and later Venus/Mars cameras, used an
electronic circuit that monitored the camera output. Gain adjustments were smoothed over 5 to
10 seconds. The sample-return missions, Luna-16 and 20 had a stereo pair of cameras focused on
the drilling site to guide placement. Their resolution was 3006000, and they were capable of
viewing the sky and spacecraft. Luna-16 landed during Lunar night, illuminating the drilling area
with lamps.

Panoramas from Lunokhod-1
The Lunokhod rovers (1970 and 1973) contained four cycloramic cameras (a pair on either side)
for high quality imaging of the Lunar surface and sky. Cameras scanning about an axis 15 from
vertical covered a 180 panorama from 1.4 meters to the horizon. Cameras scanning about an
horizontal axis could cover a 360 view including the sky and stars, the ground beside the
wheels, and a device to show precise rover level.
Generating 1000 Hz video signals, two cycloramic cameras could transmit at once, on
subcarriers of 130 and 190 KHz. The resolution of a 360 panorama was 500 6000, and
hundreds of panoramas were returned by the rover missions. For navigational purposes, two low-
resolution vidicon cameras were mounted on the front of the rover, returning 250 lines of video
at 10 frames per second.

Venera-9 and Venera-10 were the first probes to carry cameras to the surface of Venus, in 1975.
Conditions on Venus are extreme, pressures of almost 100 atmospheres and temperatures up to
475 C (890: F). To function in this hostile environment, several changes had to be made,
although the basic design principals remained the same: a scanning mirror and a pinpoint
photometer based on a photomultiplier tube.
The camera housing was mounted within the spherical pressure hull of the lander, and a
periscope extension reached into a cylindrical pressure window. The scanning mirror was moved
by push wires, and was designed to operate at Venusian surface temperatures. The tube of the
periscope was relatively nonconductive, and the camera housing was packed with a heat-
absorbing phase-change material. Forming a seal between the titanium frame and the quartz
pressure window was particularly difficult, since differing thermal expansion takes place
between outer space and the surface of Venus. Gold gaskets and specially shaped grooves solved
this problem.

The compensating lens (3) was an elegant feature, designed to cancel out the refractive effect of
the thick quartz pressure window. Focusing at the hyperfocal distance yielded a depth of field
from 0.8 meters to infinity. The camera was programmed to scan forwards and backwards until
the lander ceased to function. During the return stroke, a calibration signal from a stabilized lamp
was admitted to the photometer.
Two cameras were mounted symmetrically on a lander, angled to view both the immediate
foreground and the horizon, in a single 180 panorama. The 128512 resolution was scanned at
one line every 3.5 seconds, much smaller and slower than the lunar cameras. This was dictated
by the telemetry rate (256 bits/sec) and the estimated minimum lander lifetime of 30 minutes.
Note that 13 pixels of each line was a calibration pattern sent during retrace, and 115 pixels were
video image data. Contact was actually maintained for 50 to 60 minutes, and almost two
complete panoramas were returned by both missions. Only one camera functioned on each

Venera-10 Panorama
The output of the photomultiplier and logarithmic amplifier was digitized to 6 bits/pixel, with a
seventh parity bit. All radio transmission from the lander to the orbiter was digital.

Degraded Publication of Venera-10 Panorama
Soviet space images are sometimes printed in astonishingly degraded forms. This is partially the
result of generation loss, and partly an effect of cold-war-era propaganda. Sometimes the only
available glimpse of a device or an image from space is a photocopy from a Russian journal.

Venera-13, Short Program (Camera I)

Venera-13, Complete Program (Camera II)
Venera-13 and Venera-14 landed on Venus in 1982, returning higher resolution images in color.
Bandwidth between lander and the fly-by relay spacecraft was increased by a factor of 12,
allowing 2521024 pixel images to transmitted at one line per 0.82 seconds. 41 pixels per line
comprised a retrace pattern, including the scanning of a stabilized light source through a
photometric wedge. The basic design was very similar to the Venera-9 camera, but with many
improvements. The low noise of the photomultiplier tube gave a signal-to-noise ratio of 1000,
allowing the video to be digitized at 9 bits per pixel. A 10
bit was added with parity.
Each lander had two cameras, which repeatedly executed programs of scanning and color filter
changes. One camera executed a "short program", beginning with a 180 scan through the clear
filter, then scanning back and forth for 60 with red/green/blue filters, and finally a 120 clear
image as it reversed back to its starting position. This would ensure a complete panorama and a
full color section, even if the lander only survived for 30 minutes. The second camera executed a
"long program", scanning a full 180 with clear, red, green and blue filters. They survived about
two hours, and returned multiple panoramas.

The deployed color-calibration panels consisted of blue, green, red and gray sections of
polysiloxane enamel and metal-oxide pigment. Their color is depicted above, sRGB values
calculated from measured spectra. The enamels were tested and spectrographed under simulated
temperature and pressure to measure the thermochromic and piezochromic color shifts. The
overall orange illumination seen in the color panoramas is due to Rayleigh scattering and
possibly an unknown blue-absorbing chemical in the lower atmosphere. The zenith sky spectrum
was accurately measured by the lander, and its illumination of the heated, pressurized enamel
spectra can be calculated.
The calculated colors do not exactly match the panels in the color panoramas. The overall
illumination is not only from the zenith color, although that should give the most contribution.
The panels could be slightly covered with dust, and although they are made from highly resistant
material, they could have been effected by atmospheric chemicals. However, the largest effect is
simply that the images from Venera-13 and 14 have never actually been properly color balanced,
nor has the radiometric response function of the camera been established. We do not yet know
the precise colors of Venus

Section of Raw Venera-13 Digital Video
Venera cameras transmitted one continuous digital video signal, without break. The two vertical
bars of "static" seen above are interruptions to transmit telemetry from other onboard
experiments. The horizontal bars running across the top are the video front porch and a
calibration signal fed into the photometer from an optical-density ramp and a stabilized light
source. Starting from the left, the scanner is working though a clear filter with automatic gain
control (note variations in the brightness of the calibration). The narrow band of very bright
scanlines indicates that a high constant-gain setting has been switched on by the program control.
The direction of the scanning also reversed at that point. A few scan lines later, the red filter has
dropped into position, and the image becomes darker.
Optical-Mechanical Linear Cameras
Conventional cameras focus an image onto a 2-dimensional image sensor. One problem with this
is the limitation of resolution imposed by image sensor technology. It is easier to build a 1-
dimensional camera and allow the orbital motion of the spacecraft to sweep it across the planet.
An innovation often attributed to Landsat-1, Soviet scientists first deployed linear cameras a year
earlier, on Luna-19. Built by Arnold Selivanov and Iuri Gektin, they represent an evolution of
the panoramic camera used on Luna-9 in 1966.

These cameras, for 1971 and 1974 low-orbit survey, were designed to produce long, high-quality
panoramas of the lunar surface. They used a photomultiplier tube (4) as the detector, with a
spinning prism to scan a 180 "cylindrical fisheye" image. The scan rate was 4 lines per second.
From an altitude of 100 kilometers, the craft could resolve 100 meters along the direction of
scanning, and 400 meters along the perpendicular direction of flight. The images extend to the
lunar horizon, which was used to help calculate the precise orbital motion of the satellite

Fragment of a Luna-22 Panorama
The Luna-19 and Luna-22 "heavy orbiters" are still somewhat mysterious missions, although one
objective was the mapping of the Moon's uneven gravitational field. Luna-22 adjusted its orbit
until it was skimming the lunar surface at 15 to 30 kilometers distance. By one report, Luna-19
returned 5 panoramas and Luna-22 returned 10.

Camera System on Venera-9/10 and Mars-4/5 Orbiters
The Mars-4, Mars-5 and Venera-9 orbiters contained linear cameras designed by Gektin and his
team. They scanned images 30 wide and arbitrarily long, as the orbit of the spacecraft swept
across the planet. The camera design was similar to the cycloramic camera on Luna-9, but its
scanning mirror oscillated without the need of a rotating assembly, using the satellite's orbital
motion to sweep out an image swath. It used automatic gain control and operated in a
logarithmic-photometer mode. Each scanline included some black and white calibration stripes
transmitted during the return stroke.
The box, above left, is an analog 4-track tape-loop recording device designed to work with this
linear camera. It recorded up to 45 minutes of two 1000 Hz video signals as well as two
synchronization signals from the onboard crystal oscillator. Both cameras could be
simultaneously recorded for 45 minutes, or one camera could record for 90 minutes. The video
could be read and digitized for transmission to Earth, at two speeds (i.e., at two pixels/line
Reports claim the tape recorder was also used to store the video signal from the lander, although
technical papers stress that the radio signal from the Venera and Mars landers to the orbiter was
digital, not analog.

The Mars cameras used two photomultiplier tubes and returned images in three wavelength
ranges. A PMT-112 (AgOCs cathode) with a red glass long-pass filter was used to image in
infrared. A PMT-114 (multialkali cathode, also used on Venera lander) was used with red and
orange glass filters to image those colors. The cameras scanned at 4 lines/second, generating
1000 Hz video (250 cycles/line), which was recorded on magnetic tape. The primary readout rate
was 1 line/second, transmitted to Earth probably at 256 or 512 pixels/line. The option existed to
scan at 4 lines/second and send reduced resolution at higher speed. Mars-4 returned 2 panoramas,
and Mars-5 returned 5 panoramas.
The Venus cameras both used the PMT-114 with violet and ultraviolet filters to obtain images in
those spectral ranges. It scanned at 2 lines/second, generating 1000 Hz video (500 cycles/line).
During transmission to Earth, the tape could be read and transmitted at 256 pixels/line in the
primary mode, or at a slower special rate of 512 pixels/line. Venera-9 performed 17 survey
missions from October 26 to December 25, 1975, using the ultraviolet camera with the violet
camera sometimes recording simultaneously. Resolution was 6.5 to 30 km, depending on the
spacecraft altitude.
The panoramas, recorded over 30 to 50 minutes, were probably about 256 6000 6-bits in
size, and contained highly elongated images of the planet. They were contrast enhanced and
linearly compressed by scanline averaging, to reduce noise and geometric distortion. These
images were higher resolution than the later Pioneer Venus cloud photometer, but unfortunately
the images from this survey have never been released to the public. The poor-quality images
above are scanned photocopies of printed pictures

Fobos-2 Thermal Image of Mars
In 1988, the Soviet Union launched Fobos-1 and -2, Mars orbiters with small vehicles intended
to land on Phobos. Selivanov and Gektin's team designed a 28 kilogram optico-mechanical
camera, similar in basic design to the Mars-5/Venera-9 linear cameras. Called TERMOSKAN,
the camera contained two detectors: One for 600-950 nm returned images in the red and near-
infrared range. The other, cooled by liquid nitrogen, imaged the thermal infrared wavelengths
from 8.5 to 12 m. Seen above is the third of four scans around the equator of Mars, 5123100
pixels, from Olympus Mons to the Valles Marineris.

The spacecraft was 3-axis stabilized, with the TERMOSKAN camera pointed away from the
Sun. A moving mirror scanned one dimension at 512 pixels/line and 1 line/second. The nearly
circular orbit of the spacecraft moved the camera in a swath across the illuminated face of the
planet. The faint horizontal streak is the shadow of Phobos, following the spacecraft's orbit

Full Size Detail of Thermal Imaging
Above is a full sized section from the second scan in the far infrared. With 1.8 km resolution, the
Fobos-2 images are several times higher resolution than the recent thermal IR images from Mars
Global Surveyor. Each scan line consists of 384 pixels of image and 128 pixels of calibration
data (which has been omitted). A later version of the camera was installed on Mars-96, which
was destroyed in a launch mishap.

Image from MSU-SK Image from MSU-E

Linear optical-mechanical cameras have been applied to non-military Earth observation
satellites. In the early 1970s, two scanners were developed by Selivanov's team, for the Meteor
weather satellites: MSU-M scanned 4 lines/sec by oscillating mirror (similar to the Mars-5
camera). It swept a 3000 km swath at four bands in the visible and infrared. MSU-S scanned 48
lines/sec by spinning prism (similar to the Luna-19 camera). It swept out a 2000 km swath with
240 meter resolution, in two spectral bands.
The two images above show images gathered from MIR in the 1990s. The latest spinning-prism
scanner, the MSU-SK, has been installed on Meteor-3M, Okean and Resurs-O satellites, as well
as the MIR space station. It sweeps out a 600 km wide swath with an arc-shaped scan, returning
up to 4756 pixels/line. It is combined with the MSU-E push-broom camera, which uses three
2048-element linear CCD sensors. The MSU-E returns 200 lines/sec in a 45 - 78 km swath,
running down the center of the MSU-SK image. A 24-bit image is returned, consisting of three
channels selected from the set of 5 spectral bands on the MSU-SK and 3 bands on MSU-E.
Returned-Film Camera Systems
The highest quality images of the Earth and Moon have come from returned film, taken
automatically or by astronauts. In America, the civilian space program was forbidden to develop
automatic returned-film camera systems, a matter of some dispute during the planning of
Landsat. In the Soviet Union, the division between military and civilian space programs was less
distinct. With high resolution returned-film imagery from Resurs-F available for topographic and
Earth-resource applications, Soviet linear-scanning satellites like Resurs-O were designed for
wider coverage than Landsat.

The world's first surveillance satellite was the Zenit-2, developed concurrently with the Vostok
manned missions, and using the same spacecraft. Since 1961, over 700 Zenit or Resurs-F
satellites have flown, carrying a variety of camera systems and returning them in the spherical
landing capsule. The original Ftor-2 camera system, consisting of a 200 mm and 1000 mm
camera, was designed by Iu.V. Riabushkin.
The Zenit-8 capsule above shows two telescopic KFA-3000 cameras, with a folded 3000 mm
focal length. It probably held about 1800 frames of film, each 30 30 cm, yielding 2-3 meter
resolution. The camera systems were used an average of three times, before worn out by repeated
launching and reentry.
The Resurs-F1 capsule above shows five cameras. Two KFA-1000 cameras shot 30 30 frames
of b/w or spectrozonal film through 1000 mm objectives (4-6 meter resolution). Three KATE-
200 cameras shot 18 18 cm color film through 200 mm objectives (15-30 meter resolution).
Spectrozonal film recorded 570-680 nm and 680-810 nm wavelengths in separate emulsion

Rome from Resurs-F1 Los Angelas from Resurs-DK
Examples of Soviet returned-film imagery are impressive. The Resurs-DK camera has a
resolution of 1 meter. Russian companies now sell returned-film imagery from regions outside
their national boundaries.

Zond-7 Image Zond-8 Image
Zond-5 through Zond-8 returned film images of the Moon and Earth from 1968 to 1970. The
camera system was developed at the Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography
(MIIGAiK) under Boris N. Rodionov. Zond-6 and 8 carried a 400 mm camera using 13 18 cm
frames of panchromatic film. Zond-7 carried a 300 mm camera shooting on 5.6 5.6 cm film
(both color and panchromatic). The original Zond-8 negatives have been digitized in Moscow to
about 8000 6000 pixels, and are still among the best close images of that plane