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Pioneer 4
Pioneer 4 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Pioneer 4's main objective was to photograph the Moon during a flyby. It also carried sensors to study radiation in space.

Accomplishments: A navigation malfunction send the spacecraft flying past the Moon at twice the planned distance and its camera sensor was not triggered. It did send back 82 hours of valuable scientific data on radiation in space.


Key Dates
3 Mar 1959:  Launch (05:10:45 UT)
6 Mar 1959:  Contact Lost
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Pioneer 4 Facts Pioneer 4 was the first U.S. spacecraft to escape Earth's gravity and the first American probe to enter orbit around the Sun.

This 5th U.S. Moon mission was considered a partial success because it sent back excellent data on radiation in space.

The probe was tracked to a then record distance from Earth of 654,860 kilometers (392,900 miles).
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010