Lunar Missions Timeline TREVOR C.

By tjcrom
  • Lunar 1

    Luna 1 was the first spacecraft to reach the Moon, and the first of a series of Soviet automatic interplanetary stations successfully launched in the direction of the Moon. The spacecraft was sphere-shaped. Five antennae extended from one hemisphere. Instrument ports also protruded from the surface of the sphere. There were no propulsion systems on the Luna 1 spacecraft itself. Because of its high velocity and its announced package of various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms, it was
  • Ranger 1

    Ranger 1 was a spacecraft whose primary mission was to test the performance of those functions and parts necessary for carrying out subsequent lunar and planetary missions using essentially the same spacecraft design. A secondary objective was to study the nature of particles and fields in interplanetary space.
  • Ranger 3

    Ranger 3 was designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to impacting on the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. Due to a series of malfunctions the spacecraft missed the Moon
  • Lunar 4

    Luna 4 was the USSR's first successful spacecraft of their "second generation" lunar program. The spacecraft, also referred to as an automatic interplanetary station, launched on a Molniya 8K78 on 2 April 1963 at 08:04:00 UT (A launch time of 08:16:37 UT has also been reported) Rather than being sent on a straight trajectory toward the Moon, the spacecraft was placed first in a 167 x 182 km Earth orbit and then was rocketed in a curving path towards the Moon. Luna 4 achieved the desired initial
  • Ranger 6

    Ranger 6 was designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 full-scan cameras (channel F, one wide-angle, one narrow-angle) and 4 partial scan cameras (channel P, two wide-angle, two narrow-angle) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate powe
  • Ranger 8

    Ranger 6 was designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 full-scan cameras (channel F, one wide-angle, one narrow-angle) and 4 partial scan cameras (channel P, two wide-angle, two narrow-angle) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate powe
  • Lunar 9

    Luna 9 was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data from the Moon's surface to Earth, preceding the U.S. Surveyor 1 soft lander by about 4 months. The probe also proved that the lunar surface could support the weight of a lander and that an object would not sink into a loose layer of dust as some models predicted. Luna 9 launched on 31 January 1966 at 11:41 UT (14:41 Moscow time) from Baikonur Cosmodrome and reached the Moon on 3 February.
  • Lunar Orditer 3

    The Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft was designed primarily to photograph areas of the lunar surface for confirmation of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial lunar orbit on 8 February at 21:54 UT. The orbit was 210.2 km x 1801.9 km with an inclination of 20.9 degrees and a period of 3 hou
  • Surveryor 7

    Surveyor 7 was the fifth and final spacecraft of the Surveyor series to achieve a lunar soft landing. The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, a series of seven robotic lunar softlanding flights, were to support the coming crewed Apollo landings by: (1) developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon; (2) providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the lunar surface; and (3) adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon.
  • Apollo 9

    Apollo 9 was the first manned flight of the lunar module and tested this portion of the spacecraft for lunar operations. During the ten-day flight, the spacecraft demonstrated various important functions including a complete rendezvous and docking profile and extravehicular crew operations. All systems performed satisfactorily. The mission completed 151 earth orbits and carried the largest payload ever placed in orbit.
  • Apollo 11

    This mission was planned as a precision lunar landing in the Fra Mauro highlands with the primary objectives of exploring the Moon, surveying and sampling the Imbrium Basin, deploying and activating the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), further developing the capability to work in the lunar environment, and photographing candidate exploration sites.
  • Apollo 14

    The Apollo 14 mission, with a crew including Alan Shepard Jr., Stuart A. Roosa, and Edgar D. Mitchell, was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 31, 1971. It was the third mission to achieve lunar landing. The spacecraft landed in the Fra Mauro highlands, the same area that was to have been explored on Apollo 13. Although the primary mission objectives for Apollo 14 were the same as those of Apollo 13, provisions were made for returning a significantly greater quantity of lunar
  • Lunar 20

    Luna 20 was placed in an intermediate earth parking orbit and from this orbit was sent towards the Moon. It entered lunar orbit on February 18, 1972. On 21 February 1972, Luna 20 soft landed on the Moon in a mountainous area known as the Apollonius highlands near Mare Foecunditatis (Sea of Fertility), 120 km from where Luna 16 had impacted. While on the lunar surface, the panoramic television system was operated. Lunar samples were obtained by means of an extendable drilling apparatus. The ascen
  • Lunar 22

    Luna 22 was a lunar orbiter mission. The spacecraft carried imaging cameras and also had the objectives of studying the Moon's magnetic field, surface gamma ray emissions and composition of lunar surface rocks, and the gravitational field, as well as micrometeorites and cosmic rays. Luna 22 was launched into Earth parking orbit and then to the moon. It was inserted into a circular lunar orbit on 2 June 1974. The spacecraft made many orbit adjustments over its 18 month lifetime in order to optimi
  • Lunar 24

    The last of the Luna series of spacecraft, the mission of the Luna 24 probe was the third Soviet mission to retrieve lunar ground samples (the first two were returned by Luna 16 and 20). After entering a 115 x 115 km lunar orbit with an inclination of 120 degrees, the probe landed in the area known as Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) at 12.75 N, 62.2 E on 18 August 1976. Using a sample arm and drill, the mission successfully collected 170.1 grams of lunar samples and deposited them into a collection
  • Hiten

    The last of the Luna series of spacecraft, the mission of the Luna 24 probe was the third Soviet mission to retrieve lunar ground samples (the first two were returned by Luna 16 and 20). After entering a 115 x 115 km lunar orbit with an inclination of 120 degrees, the probe landed in the area known as Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) at 12.75 N, 62.2 E on 18 August 1976. Using a sample arm and drill, the mission successfully collected 170.1 grams of lunar samples and deposited them into a collection
  • Clementine

    Clementine was the first of a new class of small spacecraft to enable long-duration deep space missions at low cost using lightweight satellite technology. Along with its primary mission to test this new technology, it returned valuable lunar data to the scientific community.
  • AsiaSat 3/hgs-1

    Asiasat 3 was a communications satellite launched by Hong Kong, People's Republic of China. It was to be used primarily for television distribution and telecommunications services throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Australasia, with multiple spot beams for selected areas.
  • Lunar Prospector

    Lunar Prospector was one of the NASA Discovery Program missions. It was designed to perform a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon. This included mapping the surface composition and locating lunar resources, measuring magnetic and gravity fields, and studying outgassing events. The data from this mission, which carried only scientific instruments, complemented the image data from the Clementine mission, which carried mostly cameras. The information gathered will improve the understanding of
  • SMART 1

    The SMART-1 (Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology 1) is a lunar orbiter designed to test spacecraft technologies for future missions. It entered initial lunar orbit on 13 November 2004. The primary technology being tested is a solar-powered ion drive. It will also carry an experimental deep-space telecommunications system and an instrument payload to monitor the ion drive and study the Moon. The primary scientific objectives of the mission are to return data on the geology, morphol
  • Kaguya (SELENE)

    Spectral Profiler onboard on Japanese lunar explorer SELENE/Kaguya revealed the global distribution of olivine on the lunar surface and its origin. This new finding provides us important insight into the Moon’s origin and evolution. This result was published in the British scientific journal "Nature Geosciences" on July 4, 2010.
  • Chandrayaan-1

    Indians are fascinated by Moon from ancient days and now 21st century India is ready to land on moon! Chandrayaan is the mission towards that dream. Chandrayaan-1 In Chandrayaan-1, the lunar craft would be launched using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Lunar craft would orbit around moon 100 km from moon surface. More ... Chandrayaan-2 In Chandrayaan-2, ISRO will send moon rover on moon surface.The rover would move on wheels on the lunar surface, pick up samples of soil or rocks, do
  • LRO

    02.20.12 - New images acquired by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft show that the moon's crust is being slightly stretched, forming small valleys - at least in some small areas. High-resolution images obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) provide evidence that these valleys are very young, suggesting the moon has experienced relatively recent geologic activity
  • Chang'e 2

    Launched on 01 October 2010, the Chang'e 2 spacecraft is China's second lunar mission. Expanding on the goals of the Chang'e 1 mission, its will act as a technical test satellite for future Chinese lunar missions. Its principal objectives are to return high resolution images of the lunar surface to aid in selection of a future landing site for the Chang'e 3 lander and rover mission. A key technology for soft-landing on the Moon will also be tested.