NASA's Ranger 3 spacecraft was part of the second generation, or block 2, (pictured here) of the Ranger mission series. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Ranger 3 was NASA's first attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon. The spacecraft was designed to transmit up-close photos of the lunar surface before making a rough landing on the moon and deploying a small set of instruments, including a seismometer.
A series of malfunctions, principally with the spacecraft's guidance system, sent the spacecraft hurtling past the moon at much higher speeds than planned. Because of the increased speeds, among other flight problems, Ranger 3 was unable to enter lunar orbit and flew past the moon on January 28, 1962.
- Imaging system
- Gamma ray spectrometer
- Radar altimeter