Pioneer 3

Pioneer 3 Pioneer 3

Technicians wearing clean-room attire inspect the Pioneer 3 probe before shipping it to Cape Canaveral, Fla. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view

Mission Summary

The Pioneer 3 mission was one of the first attempts by the United States to send a spacecraft to the moon. Because of a malfunction with the spacecraft's booster rocket, it lacked the velocity to make it beyond Earth orbit and fell back to Earth, burning up over Africa.

Pioneer 3 was, however, equipped with a Geiger counter to study interplanetary radiation and managed to discover and map the outer Van Allen radiation belt around Earth before its demise.

Scientific Instrument(s)

- Geiger counters


Type: Flyby
 
Status: Past
 
Launch Date: December 06, 1958
(05:44 UTC)
 
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
 
Mission End Date: December 07, 1958
 
Target: Moon
 
Destination: Moon
 
A soybean field in Ohio. Image credit: WikiMedia Commons Building Better Soybeans for a Hot, Dry, Hungry World

› Read more

Artist's concept of NASA's Kepler space telescope. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech NASA Hosts Media Teleconference to Announce Latest Kepler Discovery

› Read more

Michael Russell and Laurie Barge of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. New Study Outlines 'Water World' Theory of Life's Origins

› Read more