NASA's Ranger 1 spacecraft was part of the first generation, or block 1, (pictured here) of the Ranger mission series. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Ranger 1, the first of a series of nine spacecraft launched in the early 1960s to explore the moon, was a test spacecraft built as a prelude to future lunar missions. It was designed to make a highly elliptical Earth orbit and carried several science instruments for studying cosmic rays, magnetic fields and energetic particles.
During launch, a rocket malfunction caused the spacecraft to get stranded in low-Earth orbit, and one week after launch, it burned up upon reentering Earth's atmosphere.
- Lyman-alpha telescope
- Electrostatic analyzer
- Cosmic ray detector
- Cosmic dust detector
- Scintillation counters