,-------- - - ~ ~ - - . . . . - " - ~ --_.

- --- - --
I •
. 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 unknown than is known
about that satellite.
THE REQUIREMENT
To land American astronauts on the moon,
the National Aeronautics and Space Administra-
tion (NASA) needs much more information about
lunar composition, characteristics, and conditions
than earth-bound scientists now have. NASA
has developed projects to land scientific instru-
ments on the moon to relay precise data so that
the practical aspects of man's lunar landing and
return (Project Apollo) can be accurately planned.
Project Ranger is the first of NASA's several
unmanned space projects delving into the moon's
secrets. The Ranger program represents Amer-
1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, -
--I
Page 2 NASA FACTS (A-62) j
ica's first attempt to obtain close-up and detailed
photographs of the moon and its topography,
to secure scientific data on the composition of
the lunar surface, and to learn more about lunar
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 the moon antedates 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 the Ranger program proposed five
flights of instrumented packages during 1961
and 1962, but four additional Ranger flights
were added for 1963, to insure more and better
data about the moon.
RANGER- This is 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
- - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - ~ - - - - = - ~ = = ~ ~ ~ ~ = = ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
r -
II .
II
1
II
[I
II
1
:1
II
I
II
!
I
I
. 1
I
I
!
!
~
l
----_._-------- -- ._--- -- -- ~ . - - - - ~ - - - - - - - - ~
. NASA FACTS (A-62)
Page 3
RANGER LAUNCH-TO- INJECTION SEQUENCE
SUN
II I \>


"I"
'i-
-:QCJ:l- ~
~
~ \ \ ~
~ 4
8
7
9
1. LAUNC H
2. B OOST ER SH UT OFF AND SEP ARATI ON
3. SUST A INE R SHUTOF F /I AGENA SE P ARATION
4 . SHROU D E J ECT ION
5. FI RST A GENA I GNI T ION
6. F I RST AGENA SHUTOFF /I START OF COAST
7 . SECOND AG E NA IGN I TION
8 . SEC OND AGENA SHUTOFF /I SPA CECRAFT SEPARATION
9. SPACECRAFT SUN A CQU ISITION
10. EARTH ACQU ISITION
The pri mary missi on of the first two Ranger
flights, on August 23, and November 18, 1961,
was to provide engineering 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 second
burning phase, when it should have 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. The
instrumentation in the spacecraft was tested and
provided telemetered data to the tracking net-
work. It was also demonstrated that the space-
6
5
INJECTION
_8
-7
3
2
craft would execute commands received from
the earth stations as well as its preassi gned
tasks.
Ranger 3 was the first test a i med at i mpact-
ing the moon and " rough-landing " a scientific
instrument 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
~ - - - - - - - ~ - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - _ .
Page 4
into space by an Atlas "0" booster and put
into a near earth orbit by an Agena-B second
stage, which would then shut off while only par-
tially burned out. When Ranger and its
attached Agena-B had coasted to the "space
window" selected as the best trajectory to the
moon, the Agena engines would restart, accel-
erate Ranger to the earth-escaping velocity of
the 24,500 miles per hour and put it on an
impact course to the moon. The Agena booster
would then drop off and be deflected by its own
retrorockets, to prevent its following the space-
craft to the moon. The Ranger would then be
on its own for its 66-hour fli ght to moon
impact.
RANGER FLIGHT PLAN
A summary of Ranger operations and activities
on its flight to, and just before its impact on
the moon, indicates why this is one of America's
NASA FACTS (A-62)
most complicated satellites and why NASA
determined on three identical craft to insure the
scientific purpose of this mission. While in
lunar flight, Ranger has the following mission
sequence:
1. At 30 minutes after launch, on signal
from its own computer, unfolds two solar
panels. Using cold nitrogen jets, the
Ranger aligns its flight axis so that these
solar panels are aligned to face the sun,
in a "sun-lock," to produce electrical
power for the spacecraft's operations.
Having locked on the sun, Ranger then
extends its "high-gain antenna," for
clearest telemetry and television trans-
mission to earth stations, and without
losing the "sun-lock," jets itself and the
antenna onto an "earth-lock." Finally,
the gamma ray spectrameter is turned on
and relays radiation data to earth every
8 minutes.
MAKING SUN-LOCK AND EARTH-LOCK-Drawing of maneuver to put solar panels in line
with sun and "high gain" antenna in line with the earth.
I
1

NASA FACTS (A-62)
1'/ / GAMMA RAY 100M OUT
1
IARTH UACQUIS/TION
) SUN UAQUISITION
_.I' 0 \ / ANNl1NAI"OSmON
/)
\
MOTOR tURN
/
PITCH MANNVn
/
lOll MANIUvn
ANnNNA UP
0,.-
r .
/
RANGER
J l)lti
)\
MIDCOURSE MANEUVER
)

/ IARTH
"
2. Changes its flight orientation, 16 hours
after launch, following orders transmitted
by NASA's Goldstone (Calif.) tracking sta-
tion, utilizing computer course corrections
from the flight data received from three
Deep Space Instrumentation Facility stations:
California, South Africa and Australia.
Ranger obeys by firing a mid-course motor
in the spacecraft's base and puts itself on
collision course with the moon.
RANGER
TERMINAL MANEUVER
FIRST PilCH VER
YAW MANEUVEI?
SECOND PITCH MANEUVU
--- OMNI .ANTENNA DEPLOYED
CAJlSl,.Ill SEPARATES
REno M010R FIRES
5
j
Page 6
3. Re-establishes its solar panels' lock to the
sun and its "high-gain antenna" lock on
the earth, which would have been lost in
the mid-course maneuver and the firing
of its own engine. The gamma ray
spectrometer is then extended by a gas-
operated boom, some 72 inches from the
spacecraft, to obtain more accurate data.
4 . Performs a terminal maneuver I about 65
hours after launch, at 5,000 miles from
the moon. Upon previously transmitted
com mands from Goldstone Station,
Ranger maneuvers itself into proper posi-
tion for televising pictures of the moon,
and receiving radar reflections from the
moon as well as positioning the lunar
capsule and its retroactive motor for
proper separation. The TV cameras are
warmed up and the lid moves from the
- ~ - - l
NASA FACTS (A-62)
lens. The radar antenna extends and
radar impulses to the moon are started
to report on the reflective characteristics
of its surface with telemetry transmission
to earth tracking stations.
5. Commences taking telescopic television
pictures of the lunar surface about 2,400
miles from the moon. The spacecraft's
camera will produce one 200-line (as
contrasted with a 525-line on domestic
TV) transmitting image, every 13 seconds
until 8 seconds before the Ranger vehicle
impacts. The expected 100 pictures
should have a clarity, or an identifying
capability, from 3 to 20 times better than
moon photographs taken from the earth.
6. Separates the lunar seismometer capsule
with its braking rocket from the space-
craft when radar reflections indicate an
\
I
'I
I'
LUNAR SEISMOMETER SPHERE AND BRAKING ROCKET
------
- ~ ~ - - -
1
0
-- NASA FACTS (A-62)
I
I
I
l
L
altitude of about 70,000 feet from the
moon's surface. Three small rocket
motors spin the retrorocket from the lunar
capsule some four feet above and away
from the spacecraft which then impacts
in 8 seconds and is destroyed.
7. Fires the retro or braking rocket for 10
seconds at 5,080 pounds of thrust to
slow the capsule system from 6,000
miles per hour to zero velocity of 1,100
feet .
8. Detaches seismometer capsule from brak-
ing rocket so that the former under the
pressure of the moon's gravity falls free
the last 1,100 feet and "rough-lands"
on the moon, at a speed of about 150
miles per hour, some four seconds after
the braking rocket, and twenty-four sec-
onds after the spacecraft had impacted.
PROTECTIVE BALSA SHIELD
9. Positions the seismometer capsule by
counter-balanced weights so that it is in
the best position to transmit to earth data
on moonquakes and meteor impact for 30
days. The seismometer sphere floats in
an oil film inside an oval balsa wood
protective shield, tested to withstand a
200-mph impact on rock. Since the oil
film might deaden lunar sounds, two ex-
7
Page 7
ploding sl ugs pierce the bottom of the
balsa casing to permit the oil to drain
out when the capsule rights itself.
America's first scientific instrument on the
moon is then ready to transmit data to
the earth.
RANGER 3 LAUNCH-JANUARY 26, 1962
Page 8
THE RANGER 3 TEST
At 3:30 p.m. on January 26, 1962, the
Atlas-D Agena B rocket carrying Ranger 3,
blasted off from NASA's Atlantic Missile Range
at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch had
been scheduled for January 22, the beginning
of a 5-day period when the lunar surface is
properly lighted by the sun for television
photography. The Atlas engines burned too
long and gave the entire assembly an excessive
speed of about 275 feet per second for which
the Agena-B booster was not programmed to
compensate. Agena-B put Ranger into its
earth " coasting" orbit and then refired to place
the spaceship into its moon trajectory. How-
ever, the velocity was so great that the space-
craft would arrive at lunar impact point about
1 4 hours before the moon reached the same
spot. A lunar miss was evident within an hour
after launch.
Ranger operated almost perfectly within the
Ii mits of its capabilities as verified by tele-
metered data. Its solar panels were posi-
tioned. It made its lock on the sun and its
lock on the earth. It executed its mid-course
correction maneuver within the capabilities of
its motor ' s strength, and then regained a lock
on both sun and earth. It commenced its ter-
minal maneuver, pitching and yawing to point
its camero at the moon some 31,000 miles
away. The TV warmed up and the lens un-
covered and at 12:52 p. m. on January 28,
Ranger attempted to take pictures. However,
the " high-gain" antenna, previously positioned
perfectly for earth reception, lost its lock on the
8
=
~ .
NASA FACTS (A-62)
earth during terminal maneuvers due to an ex-
cessive pitch motion. While TV pictures were
transmitted, the misdirected antenna could not
provide the tracking stations with a sufficiently
clear and powerful TV transmission to provide
distinguishable pictures.
At a speed of 4,188 miles per hour, Ranger's
closest approach to the moon was 22,862 miles
at 6:23 p.m. EST January 28, only 51 hours
after launching. Ranger was too far from the
moon to accomplish a landing of the lunar
capsule, and this experiment was not attempted.
Ranger has gone into an orbit of the sun, join-
ing Pioneer IV (launched March 1959) and
Pioneer V (March 1960).
CURRENT STATUS OF THE
RANGER PROGRAM
One of the more significant achievements of
Ranger 3 was the successful accomplishment of
its solar panels lock on the sun, simultaneous
with the earth-orientated lock of i ts high-gain
antenna. This was truly a space "FIRST" and
will contribute enormously to improved recep-
tion of telemetered scientific data from space-
craft. The gamma ray detector, operating for
50 hours, provided some 350 reports on the
environment through which Ranger passed on its
way toward the moon. Finally, the experience
and the results of Ranger 3 operations provide
the engineers and scientists with invaluable in-
formation, which will be utilized to improve the
prospects for success in other Ranger flights to
the moon.
u.s. GOVERNMENT PRI NTING OFFICE : 1962 OF' -637077

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful