This was the third attempt to impact the lunar surface with a Block 2 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, and battery power was depleted after 8 hours, following which all spacecraft systems died.

The first mid-course correction was never implemented, and Ranger 5 passed the Moon at a range of 450 miles (724 kilometers) on Oct. 21, 1962 and entered heliocentric orbit. It was tracked to a distance of 790,000 miles (1,271,381 kilometers).

Before loss of signal, the spacecraft sent back about 4 hours of data from the gamma ray experiment.


Siddiqi, Asif A. Beyond Earth: A Chronicle of Deep Space Exploration, 1958-2016. NASA History Program Office, 2018.

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