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Solar System Exploration
Pioneer P-31
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Pioneer P-31
Pioneer P-31 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Pioneer P-31, or Able VB, was another attempt to place a heavily-instrumented spacecraft into lunar orbit. The spacecraft was equipped to study radiation and magnetic fields at the Moon and measure the number of micrometeoroids.

Accomplishments: None. The spacecraft's booster rocket exploded 68 seconds after launch, scattering debris into the Atlantic Ocean.

Key Dates
15 Dec 1960:  Launch (09:10 UT)
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Pioneer P-31 Facts In 1960, Russian dogs Belka and Strelka (right) became the first animals to return alive from space during the Sputnik 5 mission.

Pioneer P-31 was the final launch of 1960.

Of the seven interplanetary spacecraft launched in 1960, only Pioneer 5 was successful.
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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2010