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Ranger 5
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Ranger 05
Ranger 5 Mission to Earth's Moon

Mission Type: Impact
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Agena B (no. 7 / Atlas D no. 215 / Agena no. 6005)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States, launch complex 12
Spacecraft Mass: 342.46 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system; 2) gamma-ray spectrometer; 3) single-axis seismometer and 4) surface-scanning pulse radio experiment
Spacecraft Power: 135.0 W
Total Cost: Total research, development, launch, and support costs for the Ranger series of spacecraft (Rangers 1 through 9) was approximately $170 million.
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,

This was the third attempt to impact the lunar surface with a Block II Ranger spacecraft. On this mission, just 15 minutes after normal operation, a malfunction led to the transfer of power from solar to battery power. Normal operation never resumed; battery power was depleted after eight hours, and all spacecraft systems died.

The first midcourse correction was never implemented, and Ranger 5 passed the Moon at a range of 724 kilometers on 21 October and entered heliocentric orbit. It was tracked to a distance of 1,271,381 kilometers. Before loss of signal, the spacecraft sent back about 4 hours of data from the gamma-ray experiment.

Key Dates
18 Oct 1962:  Launch (16:59 UT)
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Ranger 05 Facts The inert Ranger 5 spacecraft is most likely still orbiting the Sun.

The spacecraft was designed to transmit pictures for 10 minutes before crashing into the Moon.

Its lunar seismometer experiment was designed to survive 130 to 160 km/hr (80 -100 mph) impact and send back data for 30 days.
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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: 28 Feb 2011