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Able 1/Pioneer 0
Able 1/Pioneer 0 (click to enlarge)

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.

Credit: NASA

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Last Updated: 19 Apr 2013