Return to Hughes Aircraft in California
Warren Waters returned to become a Supervisor for Hughes Aircraft in Newport Beach, California in April 1966. This was big news, and he got in the newspapers. He was hired to oversee several important projects including Surveyor. Surveyor was the unmanned spacecraft that landed on the Moon in 1967. While working at Hughes Aircraft Company, Solid State Research Center in Newport Beach, California, Warren Waters was in charge of designing the landing mechanism for the Surveyor probes. He used the Schottky method of bonding silicon and gold in order to make the diode device that enabled Surveyor to land smoothly on the surface of the Moon. During the flight, he was very concerned for the safety of the space craft. Had Surveyor crash landed, NASA would not have been able to send men to the Moon as early as 1969. The Schottky diode is faster than a regular diode. Two of the microwave devices that he invented was the AU bonded with Si Schottky barrier low noise mixer diodes for Surveyor and the Planar Schottky barrier diode.
The Surveyor program was a NASA program that, from 1966 through 1968, sent seven robotic spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. Its primary goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of soft landings on the Moon. The mission called for the craft to travel directly to the Moon on an impact trajectory, on a journey that lasted 63 to 65 hours, and ended with a deceleration of just over three minutes to a soft landing. The program was implemented by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to prepare for the Apollo program. JPL selected Hughes Aircraft to develop the spacecraft system. The total cost of the Surveyor program was officially $469 million.
Five of the Surveyor craft successfully soft-landed on the moon, including the first one. The other two failed: Surveyor 2 crashed at high velocity after a failed mid-course correction, and Surveyor 4 was lost to contact (possibly exploding) 2.5 minutes before its scheduled touch-down. All seven spacecraft are still on the Moon; none of the missions included returning them to Earth. Some parts of Surveyor 3 were returned to Earth by the crew of Apollo 12, which landed near it in 1969. The camera from this craft is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.