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
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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
 
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