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Solar System Exploration
Pioneer 1/Able 2
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Pioneer 1/Able 2
Pioneer 1/Able 2 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Similar to Pioneer 0/Able 1, this mission was to study the ionizing radiation, cosmic rays, magnetic fields and micrometeorites in the vicinity of Earth and the enter lunar orbit.

Accomplishments: A malfunction of the launch vehicle prevented the spacecraft from reaching the escape velocity needed for a trip to the Moon. It reached a peak altitude of 115,400 km (about 71,700 miles) and re-entered Earth's atmosphere about 43 hours after launch. However, during its flight the spacecraft did return data on the near-Earth space environment, including confirmation of the existence of the Van Allen belts.

Key Dates
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Pioneer 1/Able 2 Facts This is considered NASA's inaugural mission, though it was actually conducted by the U.S. Air Force.

The spacecraft was later dubbed Pioneer 1.

The spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010