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Pioneer P-30
Pioneer P-30 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Pioneer P-30, also known as Able VA, was designed to study the Moon from orbit with suited of nine science instruments.

Accomplishments: A malfunction in the booster rocket caused the probe to burn up in Earth's atmosphere 17 minutes after launch. Ground controllers were able to make the first successful firing of a onboard rocket on a spacecraft during the short mission.


Key Dates
25 Sep 1960:  Launch (15:13 UT)
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Pioneer P-30 Facts Debris from the spacecraft were later recovered in Transvaal, South Africa (map).

The probe used a three-stage rocket. The malfunction occurred in the second stage.

This unsuccessful mission still logged a first when controllers successfully fired the probe's onboard engine, something that had never been done on a spacecraft.
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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2010