LE3 Aerial Photography

History: Lunar Geological Exploration Camera - LGEC

Far beyond the earth and general aviation, astronauts made historic flights to the moon. During the Apollo program a unique camera was developed and manufactured by a small firm, Goerz Optical Company. Located in Pittsburgh, this company competed for camera work from NASA during the Apollo program. The LGEC was designed to support geological exploration of the moon.

Little more than a dozen of these cameras were manufactured.  The LGEC was a combination 3D/2D camera. Former Goerz Q.C. Manager, Bernard Hobach Bernard Hobach, gives us fascinating details on this unique camera and its development.

Praying that it Works!

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.  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 shown in handheld mode.

Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut in space, is shown below with the LGEC mounted on his space suit during simulation training.

Astronaut Alan Shepard during LGEC training

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.

Final Assembly Quality Control Certification for Lunar Camera Training - Training Model Magazine

Astronaut Alan Bean also worked on the LGEC camera and made changes to its design.

Machine Shop Priority List August, 1969

Machine Shop Priority List

LGEC Planning Notes:

Quality Program Documentaiton Schedule - Lunar Camera

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 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.