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NASA Facts NASA's Ranger Program

NASA Facts NASA's Ranger Program

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Published by Bob Andrepont

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Apr 02, 2011
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11/08/2012

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NASA
FACTS
(A-62)
N63
1670
1
Page
1
NASA'S
RANGER
PROGRAM
The
MOON-America's
space
goal
of
the
60
's:a manned
landing.
Yet
today
more
is
unknownthan
is
known
about
that satellite.
THE
REQUIREMENT
To
land
Americanastronauts
on
the
moon,
the
National
Aeronautics
and
Space Administration
(NASA)
needs much
more
information about
lunarcomposition,
characteristics,
and
conditions
than
earth-bound
scientists
now
have.
NASA
has
developed
projects
to land
scientific
instruments
on
themoon
to relay
precise
data
so
thatthe practical
aspects
of
man's
lunarlanding
and
return (Project
Apollo)
can
be accurately planned.
Project
Ranger
is
the
first
of
NASA's
severalunmanned
space
projects
delving
into
themoon's
secrets. The
Ranger
program
represents
Amer-
1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-
 
--
Page
2
NASA
FACTS
(A-62)
j
ica's
first
attemptto
obtain
close-up
and detailed
photographs
of
themoonand
its
topography,
to
secure
scientific
data
on
the
composition
of
the lunar
surface,
and to
learn
more
aboutlunar
origin,
history
and
structure
from
an
instru
mented capsule,
designed
to
survive
a
"rough
landing"
on
the moon.
DEVELOPMENT OF
PROJECT
RANGER
Interest
in
the
propulsion
of
scientific
instruments
to
themoonantedates
NASA's
establish-
ment
in
November
1958,
but
the actual
means
of
propulsion were
not
then
available.
Instru
mented
lunar landings were
an
integral
part
of
NASA's
first
planning.
In
1960
the
execution
of
the
Ranger
program
was assigned
to
the
Jet
Propulsion
laboratory
(JPl),
a
NASA
facil
ity operated
by
the
California
Institute
of
Technology.
Initially
theRanger
program
proposed
five
flights
of
instrumentedpackages
during
1961
and
1962,
but
four
additional
Ranger
flights
were
addedfor
1963,
to
insure
more
and
better
data about
the moon.
RANGER-
Thisis
the
intricate
spacecraft
in
moon flight.
It
spans
17
feet and
is
10.25
feet
long
,
although
it
left the
earth
in
a
compact shroud
,B
feet
high
and
5
feet
in
diameter.
It
weighs
729
pounds
and
will
depasit
on
the
moon
the
instru-
ment
capsule weighing
92
pounds.
LUNAR CAPSULE
SOLAR
PANELS
- - -
. ~
HIGH-GAIN
ANTENNA
-----,
/ OMNIDIRECTIONAL/ANTENNA
TV
CAMERA
RADAR
ALTIMETER
GAM
MA
RAY
-----'
SPECTROM
ETER
RETROROCKET
MID-COURSE
MOTOR
RANGER
SPACECRAFT
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NASA
FACTS
(A-62)
Page
3
RANGER
LAUNCH-TO-
INJECTION
SEQUENCE
SUN
II
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SHUTO
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D
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3.SUSTA
IN
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6.
FI
RST
AGENASHUTOFF
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OF
COAS
T7.
SECOND
AG
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NA
IGN
I
TIO
N8.
SE
C
OND
AGEN
A
SHUTOFF
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SP
A
CECRAFT
SE
P
ARATION
9.
SPACECRAFT
SUN
ACQU
ISITION
10
.
EARTH
ACQ
UIS
IT
ION
The pri
mary
missi
onof
the
first
two
Ranger
flights, on August
23
,
and
November
18,
1961,
was
to
prov
i
deengineering
tests
of the
many
elements
of
the spacecraft
syst
em
and
NASA's
world-wide
tracking
network. Neither
flight
was aimed
at
impact but merely to make
highly
elliptical
earth
orbits.
However,
the Agena
B
booster
vehicle twice malfunctioned
in
its secondburning
phase,
when
it
shouldhave
restarted
its
motors
and
projected the
spacecraft
from its
near earth
orbit
into
outer
space.
Rangers
1
and
2
never did
get
into
interplanetary
space.
Yet
these
tests
had
their
positive
side.
Theinstrumentation
in
the
spacecraft
was
tested
andprovided
telemetered
data
to
thetracking
net
work
.
It
was
also demonstrated
that
the
space-
6
5
INJECTION
_8
-7
3
2
craft
would
execute commands
r
eceived
from
the
earthstationsas
well
as
its
preass
i
gned
tasks.
Ranger
3
was
the
first
test
ai
med
at
i mpacting
the
moon
and
"
rough-landing
"a scientificinstrument
package
upon
it
.
It
was the
first
of
3
identical
NASA
spacecraft launched
to
perform a
series of
most
complicated
operations.
Ranger
3
and
its
two identical
sisters
each
consists
of
a
729-pound
gold
and
silver
spacecraft
containing four scientific
experiments
;lunar televised
photography,
gamma
ray detector, radar
reflectivity
of
the
moon
and
a
moonquake
seismometer,
the latter
to
land
on
the
moon
and
transmit
seismographic
data
for
30
days.
On
a successful
launch,Ranger would
be
lifted
.3
~
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~
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~
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~
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - _
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