LE3 Aerial Photography

History: Lunar Geological Exploration Camera - LGEC

Apollo 14
Bernhard Hobach

First Image!

LGEC First Photo

Renowned inventor and reliability engineer Harry Sampey (right), and machinist Jack Patterson pose for the Lunar Geological Exploration Camera's (LGEC) first trial run. Harry Sampey had an illustrious career as an inventor and entrepreneur. He and Patterson shared the NASA Space Science Award for "co-design of the lunar geophysics survey camera" (LGEC).  Sampey invented the television translator, a system used in mountainous regions to send television signals around mountains.  He is also famous for the Sampey Model 404 aircraft radio control.

The LGEC hand held in publicity photo.


LGEC in simulation traing in Hawaii
Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard, crew commander, and Edgar Mitchell, lunar module pilot, perform lunar traverse simulation training in Kapoho, Hawaii volcanic area. Shepard (front) carried a bracket mounted LGEC and Mitchell (second from front) carried a mounted Hasselblad camera. They were  accompanied by observers, Michael C. McEwen from the Geology Branch, Lunar and Earth Sciences Division, Manned Spacecraft Center (second from rear), and Maj. William J. Wood, of  the Lunar Surface Operations Office. (NASA 70-H-758)

Astronaut Alan Shepard during LGEC training
Astronaut Alan Shepard is shown above with the LGEC mounted on his space suit during simulation training (NASA).

Visit the My Little Space Museum (MLSM) website. The MLSM contains thoughtfully presented and illustrated historical and technical details for the Apollo Project and other space related topics.

 The Lunar Surface Experiments, Lunar Geology Investigation, LGEC program (S-059) was originally approved for the Apollo missions 11 through 16, and planned for 17-19 (missions 18 and 19 were later canceled).

LGEC Assignments

After a dozen of the cameras were manufactured, NASA ended production and the program was shut down. Unlike current programs, quick changes were common. NASA was in a space race with the Russians. A 1988 Stereo World magazine article once again brought the program to the public's attention. Click on the graphic below to view the article (reproduced with the generous permission of the National Stereoscopic Association and Stereo World Magazine. To learn more about stereoscopic 3D photography, visit www.stereoworld.org/ ) The article has speculation in it, as facts were hard to come by on the LGEC.

NASA Had a 3-D Camera?

Below is a drawing showing the stowage location of the LGEC on the Apollo 15 Lunar Rover, as shown in GE Crew Equipment Stowage Methods and Locations prepared for NASA.

 LGEC Stowage on Lunar Rover

LRV Stowage







Machine Shop Priority List August, 1969/p>

Machine Shop Priority List

LGEC Planning Notes:

Quality Program Documentaiton Schedule - Lunar Camera

Delta critical design review meeting attendees.

May 13, 1970 Design Review  


May 13, 1970 Design Review  


May 13, 1970 Design Review  


May 13, 1970 Design Review  




Qualification Status List





QT Checklist:


 Bernard Hobach

Bernie Hobach. In 1985, he became the only engineer to be certified by the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) in all four programs: Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Reliability Engineer, Certified Quality Technician, and Certified Mechanical Inspector. Above photo: Seated on a wing of a Globe Swift airplane. An enthusiastic golfer, Bernie had success on the links as well.

Bernard Hobach