What was Surveyor Model 1?

This mission was NASA's second attempt to simulate sending a lunar lander into orbit. All systems worked without fault.

Nation United States of America (USA)
Objective(s) Highly Elliptical Orbit
Spacecraft SD-2
Spacecraft Mass 2,090 pounds ( 950 kilograms)
Mission Design and Management NASA / JPL
Launch Vehicle Atlas Centaur (AC-6 / Atlas D no. 151D / Centaur D)
Launch Date and Time Aug. 11, 1965 / 14:31:04 UT
Launch Site Cape Canaveral, Fla. / Launch Complex 36B
Scientific Instruments None

Key Dates

Aug. 11, 1965: Launch

Sept. 11, 1965: Spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere

In Depth: Surveyor Model 1

This was the second attempt by NASA to launch a dummy Surveyor lunar lander spacecraft into a barycentric orbit toward a simulated Moon landing. Unlike the previous attempt in March 1965, this time all systems worked without fault.

The Centaur fired flawlessly and put the Surveyor dynamic model on a simulated lunar trajectory so precise that it would have impacted on the Moon without a trajectory correction.

Orbital parameters were 102 x 510,900 miles (164 × 822,135 kilometers) at 28.6-degree inclination. The payload reentered Earth's atmosphere after 31 days.

Key Source

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

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