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Ranger 4
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Ranger 04
Ranger 4 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Ranger 4 was equipped to collect data on interplanetary space, photograph the lunar surface and rough land a seismometer on the lunar surface.

Accomplishments: Ranger 4 was the first American spacecraft to reach another celestial body. Unfortunately, a power failure in its central computer made it incapable of carrying out its mission objectives. Ranger 4 crashed into the far side of the Moon at 15 degrees 30' south latitude and 130 degrees 42' west longitude.

Key Dates
23 Apr 1962:  Launch (20:50 UT)
26 Apr 1962:  Lunar Impact (12:49:53 UT)
Status: Crashed on the Moon
Fast Facts
Ranger 04 Facts Even though the mission was unsuccessful, historians note that Ranger 4 marked the first time the U.S. Atlas-Agena booster rocket performed flawlessly.

It took 64 hours for the spacecraft to reach the Moon, but its instruments ran out of power after 10 hours of flight.

There were nine spacecraft in the Ranger program. The last three were successful.
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