Company Blog

Episode 11: Art Cosgrove: Kodak and The Lunar Orbiter Mission

February 03, 2016

"If you're an artist - a photographer - that knows what [you're] doing, the quality of film is going to do an awful lot for you," according to Arthur Cosgrove, a former Kodak engineer.

Cosgrove would know: he was one of the first people to capture and view images of nearly the entire surface of the moon while working on the Lunar Orbiter program in the late 1960s.

The program consisted of a series of unmanned missions to the moon to help determine sites where astronauts could eventually land during the Apollo mission. The Lunar Orbiter program successfully provided the first detailed images of the moon, thanks to team members like Cosgrove.

But becoming part of the team to capture these never-before-seen images of the moon wasn't necessarily part of Cosgrove's original plan. Yet, upon graduating from college, Kodak recruited the future engineer as a member of the team working on the missions.

The rest is (well-documented) history.

At the young age of 23, Cosgrove traveled across the world while working on each of the program's five missions. "It was definitely an exciting experience," revealed Cosgrove of his time working on the team. "It drove my sense of pride. It drove my sense of the importance of engineering and how engineering has changed - how science has changed - the world."

Of course, the program experienced its share of setbacks. Cosgrove recalls times when electrical noise slightly distorted images and when commands were intercepted by the wrong spacecrafts - potentially causing collisions. But these mishaps were minor compared to the program's overall success.

"What worked in these programs was the ability to come together as a team. It was much stronger than I saw in terms of its ability to come together and not let vanities and so forth get in the way of performance," explained Cosgrove. This performance ultimately led to the unprecedented work by the team and paved the way for astronauts to land on the moon during the Apollo missions.

As Cosgrove puts it: "science is pretty profound and interesting." We couldn't agree more.

The Kodakery
Art Cosgrove: Kodak and The Lunar Orbiter Mission
In order to provide you with the best web experience uses cookies.