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Cosmic Bullet
Cosmic Bullet (click to enlarge)

Cosmic Bullet
Date: 4 Mar 1959

NASA's Pioneer 4 was the first U.S. spacecraft to break out of Earth orbit. Stripes were painted on the spacecraft to help it stabilize its temperature.

A booster rocket malfunction knocked the probe off course and it didn't get close enough to the moon to use its image scanner. The spacecraft did send back lots of information on radiation in space. Pioneer 4 eventually entered orbit around our sun.

The spacecraft was last detected in 1969.

Credit: NASA

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Last Updated: 22 Apr 2013