Pre-flight and On-orbit Geometric Calibration of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

E. J. Speyerer, R. V. Wagner, Mark Robinson, A. Licht, P. C. Thomas, K. Becker, J. Anderson, S. M. Brylow, D. C. Humm, M. Tschimmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) consists of two imaging systems that provide multispectral and high resolution imaging of the lunar surface. The Wide Angle Camera (WAC) is a seven color push-frame imager with a 90 field of view in monochrome mode and 60 field of view in color mode. From the nominal 50 km polar orbit, the WAC acquires images with a nadir ground sampling distance of 75 m for each of the five visible bands and 384 m for the two ultraviolet bands. The Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) consists of two identical cameras capable of acquiring images with a ground sampling distance of 0.5 m from an altitude of 50 km. The LROC team geometrically calibrated each camera before launch at Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California and the resulting measurements enabled the generation of a detailed camera model for all three cameras. The cameras were mounted and subsequently launched on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on 18 June 2009. Using a subset of the over 793000 NAC and 207000 WAC images of illuminated terrain collected between 30 June 2009 and 15 December 2013, we improved the interior and exterior orientation parameters for each camera, including the addition of a wavelength dependent radial distortion model for the multispectral WAC. These geometric refinements, along with refined ephemeris, enable seamless projections of NAC image pairs with a geodetic accuracy better than 20 meters and sub-pixel precision and accuracy when orthorectifying WAC images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-392
Number of pages36
JournalSpace Science Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Calibration
  • Camera
  • Distortion
  • Geometric
  • Instrument
  • LRO
  • LROC
  • Lunar
  • Mapping
  • Moon
  • Orientation
  • Reconnaissance Orbiter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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