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Ranger 03
Ranger 3 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Ranger 3 was NASA's first attempt to make a hard landing on the Moon. The spacecraft was designed to deploy a small instrument package containing a seismometer on the lunar surface.

Accomplishments: A malfunction in the spacecraft's guidance system sent Ranger 3 hurtling past the Moon at a distance of 36,793 km (22,862 miles). It was traveling too fast to enter lunar orbit. The spacecraft did provide the first measurements of interplanetary gamma-ray flux. Ranger 3 eventually settled into a heliocentric (sun-centered) orbit.

Key Dates
26 Jan 1962:  Launch (20:30 UT)
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Ranger 03 Facts Ranger 3 was designed to hit the lunar surface at about 130 to 160 km/hr (80 -100 mph).

It was one of only two Moon missions launched in 1962. Both were part of the Ranger program.

There were a total of nine Ranger spacecraft. The program paved the way for Surveyor landers and, ultimately, the Apollo Moon landings.
People Spotlight
Al Hibbs Al Hibbs
Al Hibbs decided as a five-year-old that he wanted to go to the Moon. He did qualify as an astronaut, but his legacy is in robotic exploration. Read More...
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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2010