Able 1/Pioneer 0
Date: 17 Aug 1958
America takes the world's first shot at the moon with the launch of Able 1. Also known as Pioneer 0, the probe is the first in a long series of Pioneer missions that -- true to their names -- blaze the trail in solar system exploration.
Unfortunately, Able 1 does not share in that legacy of success. The 38-kg (84-pound) lunar orbiter was destroyed 77 seconds after liftoff when its booster rocket exploded.