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Ranger 9
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Ranger 09
Ranger 9 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: This last of the Ranger series of missions was to provide live TV images of the Moon's Alphonsus crater and the surrounding area en route to crashing into the crater.

Accomplishments: Ranger 9 impacted the lunar surface just 6.5 km off target, well within Alphonsus crater. During its descent at nearly 3 km per second, it transmitted pictures with resolution down to 25 cm, viewed live by TV audiences. Tracking data from the Ranger missions was used to improve knowledge of the Moon's mass by an order of magnitude and to determine that the Moon's center of mass is displaced from its geometric center.


Key Dates
21 Mar 1965:  Launch (21:37:02 UT)
24 Mar 1965:  Lunar Impact (14:08:20 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Ranger 09 Facts TV networks provided real-time coverage of the images transmitted by Ranger 9 as it approached the lunar surface.

Since prior Rangers provided good images of potential Apollo landing sites, Ranger 9 was targeted to the more geologically interesting Alphonsus crater in the lunar highlands.

Ranger 9's impact formed a 14-meter crater that was later photographed from orbit by Apollo 16.
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