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Surveyor 06
Surveyor 6 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Lander
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Centaur (AC-14 / Atlas 3C no. 5902C / Centaur D-1A)
Launch Site: Eastern Test Range / launch complex 36B, Cape Canaveral, USA
NASA Center: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Spacecraft Mass: 1008 kg at launch, 300.5 kg at landing
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system; 2) alpha-scattering instrument; 3) surface sampler; and 4) footcomplex magnet
Spacecraft Dimensions: About 3 m high. Footpads extended 4.3 m from the center.
Spacecraft Power: Solar cells which charged silver-zinc batteries
Maximum Power: 85 watts
Total Cost: $469 million for the entire series of seven Surveyor spacecraft
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi

National Space Science Data Center,

Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.

Surveyor 6 landed safely on the Moon at 01:01:04 UT on 10 November 1967 in the
Sinus Medii (Central Bay) at 2.45° south latitude and 43.21° west longitude.

The spacecraft returned 29,952 images of the lunar surface during less than two weeks of operation before the onset of lunar night on 24 November. Although controllers regained contact briefly on 14 December 1967, primary landing operations had ceased by this time.

On 17 November 1967, before termination of operations, Surveyor 6 was commanded to fire its three main liquid-propellant thrusters for 2.5 seconds. As a result, the lander became the first spacecraft to be launched from the lunar surface. Surveyor 6 lifted up to about 3 meters before landing 2.5 meters west of its original landing point.

Cameras then studied the original landing footprints in order to determine the soil's mechanical properties and, now that the source point had been displaced, also accomplish some stereo imaging.

Key Dates
7 Nov 1967:  Launch
10 Nov 1967:  Lunar Landing (01:01:06 UT)
17 Nov 1967:  Liftoff Experiment - "Surveyor Hop" (10:32 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Surveyor 06 Facts Surveyor 6 made the first powered takeoff from the surface of another world.

The short hop helped develop technologies that would safely return Apollo astronauts from the Moon.

Surveyor 6 studied its own landing footprint (above).
Science & Technology Features
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: 24 Jan 2011