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SMART-1 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: SMART-1 was the European Space Agency's first mission to the Moon. It was a technology test of a new solar-electric propulsion, communication techniques and miniaturized science instruments. SMART stands for Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology.

Accomplishments: The technology tests were a success. SMART-1 also made the first comprehensive inventory of key chemical elements in the lunar surface. It investigated the theory that the Moon was formed following the violent collision of a smaller planet with Earth, four and a half thousand million years ago. The spacecraft was deliberately crashed on the Moon in September 2006.

Key Dates
27 Sep 2003:  Launch (23:14 UTC)
15 Nov 2004:  Lunar Orbit Insertion
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
SMART-1 Facts SMART-1 stands for Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology.

SMART-1's elliptical - egg-shaped - orbit will range from 10,000 to 300 km (6,200 to 190 miles) above the lunar surface.

Nine European countries and the United States are contributing to the SMART-1 mission.

SMART-1 was a secondary payload aboard an Ariane-5 launched from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

It was Europe's first mission to the Moon.

The mission was the second to use ion propulsion as a primary propulsion system. The first was NASA's Deep Space 1 probe launched in October 1998.
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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2010