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List of lunar probes

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List of lunar probes

Surveyor 3 on the moon.

This is a list of space probes that have flown by, impacted, or landed on the Moon for the purpose of lunar exploration, as well as probes launched toward the Moon that failed to reach their target. Confirmed future probes are included, but missions that are still at the concept stage, or which never progressed beyond the concept stage, are not.

The list does not include the manned Apollo missions.

Key

Colour key:

     – Mission or flyby completed successfully (or partially successfully)          – Failed or cancelled mission
     – Mission en route or in progress (including mission extensions)      – Planned mission
  • means "tentatively identified", as classified by NASA [1]. These are Cold War-era Soviet missions, mostly failures, about which few or no details have been officially released. The information given may be speculative.
  • Date is the date of:
  • closest encounter (flybys)
  • impact (impactors)
  • orbital insertion to end of mission, whether planned or premature (orbiters)
  • landing to end of mission, whether planned or premature (landers)
  • launch (missions that never got underway due to failure at or soon after launch)
In cases which do not fit any of the above, the event to which the date refers is stated. Note that as a result of this scheme missions are not always listed in order of launch.
  • In the case of flybys (such as gravity assists) that are incidental to the main mission, "success" indicates the successful completion of the flyby, not necessarily that of the main mission.

Lunar probes by date

1958

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Pioneer 0 DOD 17 August 1958 orbiter failure first attempted launch beyond Earth orbit; launch vehicle failure; maximum altitude 16 km [2]
Luna E-1 No.1 USSR 23 September 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [3]
Pioneer 1 NASA/
DOD
11 October 1958 orbiter failure second stage premature shutdown; maximum altitude 113,800 km; some data returned [4]
Luna E-1 No.2 USSR 12 October 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [5]
Pioneer 2 NASA/
STL
8 November 1958 orbiter failure third stage failure; maximum altitude 1,550 km; some data returned [6]
Luna E-1 No.3 USSR 4 December 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [7]
Pioneer 3 NASA/
DOD
6 December 1958 flyby failure fuel depletion; maximum altitude 102,360 km; some data returned [8]

1959

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 1 USSR 4 January 1959 flyby partial success first spacecraft in the vicinity of the Moon (flew within 5,995 km, but probably an intended impactor) [9]
Luna E-1A No.1 USSR 18 June 1959 impactor failure failed to reach Earth orbit [10]
Pioneer 4 NASA/
DOD
4 March 1959 flyby partial success achieved distant flyby; first US probe to enter solar orbit [11]
Luna 2 USSR 14 September 1959 impactor success first impact on Moon [12]
Pioneer P-1 NASA 24 September 1959? orbiter? failure designation sometimes given to a failed launch or launchpad explosion during testing; conflicting information between sources
Luna 3 USSR 6 October 1959 flyby success first images from the lunar farside [13]
Pioneer P-3 NASA 26 November 1959 orbiter failure disintegrated shortly after launch [14]

1960

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 1960A USSR 15 April 1960 flyby failure failed to attain correct trajectory [15]
Luna 1960B USSR 16 April 1960 flyby failure launch vehicle failure [16]
Pioneer P-30 NASA 25 September 1960 orbiter failure second stage failure; failed to reach Earth orbit [17]
Pioneer P-31 NASA 15 December 1960 orbiter failure first stage failure [18]

1962–1963

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Ranger 3 NASA 28 January 1962 impactor failure missed target [19]
Ranger 4 NASA 26 April 1962 impactor failure hit the lunar farside; no data returned [20]
Ranger 5 NASA 21 October 1962 impactor failure power failure, missed target [21]
Sputnik 25 USSR 5 January 1963 lander failure failed to escape Earth orbit [22]
Luna 1963B USSR 2 February 1963 lander? failure failed to reach Earth orbit [23]
Luna 4 USSR 5 April 1963 lander? failure missed target, became Earth satellite [24]

1964

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Ranger 6 NASA 2 February 1964 impactor partial success impacted, but no pictures returned due to power failure [25]
Luna 1964A USSR 21 March 1964 lander failure failed to reach Earth orbit [26]
Luna 1964B USSR 20 April 1964 lander failure failed to reach Earth orbit [27]
Ranger 7 NASA 31 July 1964 impactor success returned pictures up until impact [28]

1965

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Ranger 8 NASA 20 February 1965 impactor success returned pictures up until impact [29]
Cosmos 60 USSR 12 March 1965 lander failure failed to leave Earth orbit [30]
Ranger 9 NASA 24 March 1965 impactor success TV broadcast of live pictures up until impact [31]
Luna 1965A USSR 10 April 1965 lander? failure failed to reach Earth orbit? [32]
Luna 5 USSR 12 May 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon [33]
Luna 6 USSR 8 June 1965 lander failure missed Moon [34]
Zond 3 USSR 20 July 1965 flyby success possibly originally intended as a Mars probe, but target changed after launch window missed [35]
Luna 7 USSR 7 October 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon [36]
Luna 8 USSR 6 December 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon [37]

1966

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 9 USSR 3 February 1966 –
6 February 1966
lander success first soft landing; first images from the surface [38]
Cosmos 111 USSR 1 March 1966 orbiter failure failed to escape Earth orbit [39]
Luna 10 USSR 3 April 1966 –
30 May 1966
orbiter success first artificial satellite of the moon [40]
Luna 1966A USSR 30 April 1966 orbiter? failure failed to reach Earth orbit [41]
Surveyor 1 NASA 2 June 1966 lander success first US soft landing; Surveyor program performed various tests in support of forthcoming manned landings [42]
Explorer 33 NASA 1 July 1966 –
15 September 1971
orbiter partial success studied interplanetary plasma, cosmic rays, magnetic fields and solar X rays; failed to attain lunar orbit as intended, but achieved mission objectives from Earth orbit [43]
Lunar Orbiter 1 NASA 14 August 1966 –
29 October 1966
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission [44]
Luna 11 USSR 28 August 1966 –
1 October 1966
orbiter success gamma-ray and X-ray-based observations of Moon's composition; gravity, radiation and meteorite studies [45]
Surveyor 2 NASA 23 September 1966 lander failure crashed into Moon [46]
Luna 12 USSR 25 October 1966 –
19 January 1967
orbiter success lunar surface photography [47]
Lunar Orbiter 2 NASA 10 November 1966 –
11 October 1967
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission [48]
Luna 13 USSR 24 December 1966 lander success TV pictures of lunar landscape; soil measurements [49]

1967

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Lunar Orbiter 3 NASA 8 February 1967 –
9 October 1967
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission [50]
Surveyor 3 NASA 20 April 1967 –
4 May 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings [51]
Lunar Orbiter 4 NASA May–October 1967 orbiter success lunar photographic survey [52]
Explorer 35 NASA July 1967 –
24 June 1973
orbiter success studies of interplanetary plasma, magnetic fields, energetic particles and solar X rays [53]
Surveyor 4 NASA 17 July 1967 lander failure crashed into Moon [54]
Lunar Orbiter 5 NASA 5 August 1967 –
31 January 1968
orbiter success lunar photographic survey; intentionally impacted after completion of mission [55]
Surveyor 5 NASA 11 September 1967 –
17 December 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings [56]
Zond 1967A USSR 28 September 1967 failure lunar capsule test flight; launch failure [57]
Surveyor 6 NASA 10 November 1967 –
14 December 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings [58]
Zond 1967B USSR 22 November 1967 failure lunar capsule test flight; launch failure [59]

1968

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Surveyor 7 NASA 10 January 1968 –
21 February 1968
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings; fifth and final Surveyor mission to achieve soft landing [60]
Luna 1968A USSR 7 February 1968 orbiter? failure failed to reach Earth orbit [61]
Zond 4 USSR 2 March 1968 (launch) lunar programme flight test, directed away from Moon, either intentionally or unintentionally [62]
Luna 14 USSR 10 April 1968 – ? orbiter success tests of radio communications technologies; lunar mascon studies [63]
Zond 1968A USSR 23 April 1968 flyby? failure launch failure [64]
Zond 5 USSR 18 September 1968 flyby success bioscience experiments; returned to soft landing on Earth [65]
Zond 6 USSR 14 November 1968 flyby success cosmic-ray, micrometeoroid and bioscience studies; returned to soft landing on Earth [66]

1969

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Zond 1969A USSR 20 January 1969 flyby failure launch aborted [67]
Luna 1969A USSR 19 February 1969 rover failure launch vehicle failure [68]
Zond L1S-1 USSR 21 February 1969 orbiter failure launch vehicle failure [69]
Luna 1969B USSR 15 April 1969 sample return? failure launch failure [70]
Luna 1969C USSR 14 June 1969 sample return failure launch failure [71]
Zond L1S-2 USSR 3 July 1969 orbiter failure launch failure [72]
Luna 15 USSR 21 July 1969 sample return? failure? completed 52 lunar orbits then crash-landed [73]
Zond 7 USSR 11 August 1969 flyby success returned to soft landing on Earth [74]
Cosmos 300 USSR 23 September 1969 sample return failure failed to escape Earth orbit [75]
Cosmos 305 USSR 22 October 1969 sample return failure failed to escape Earth orbit [76]

1970

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 1970A USSR 6 February 1970 sample return? failure launch vehicle failure [77]
Luna 1970B USSR 19 February 1970 orbiter? failure launch vehicle failure [78]
Luna 16 USSR 20 September 1970 sample return success first robotic sample return [79]
Zond 8 USSR 24 October 1970 flyby success returned to soft landing on Earth [80]
Luna 17 USSR 17 November 1970 –
4 October 1971
lander success deployed rover [81]
   Lunokhod 1 rover success first robotic rover; travelled over 10 km

1971–1983

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 18 USSR 11 September 1971 lander/sample return? failure crashed into Moon [82]
Luna 19 USSR 3 October 1971 –
October 1972
orbiter success [83]
Luna 20 USSR 21 February 1972 sample return success second successful robotic sample return [84]
Soyuz L3 USSR 23 November 1972 orbiter failure launch failure [85]
Luna 21 USSR 15 January 1973 –
May 1973?
lander success deployed rover [86]
   Lunokhod 2 rover success second robotic rover; travelled 37 km
Explorer 49 NASA 15 June 1973 –
June 1975
orbiter success radio astronomy observations; last US lunar mission until 1994 [87]
Mariner 10 NASA November 1973 flyby success en route to Venus and Mercury [1]
Luna 22 USSR 2 June 1974 –
November 1974
orbiter success [88]
Luna 23 USSR 6 November 1974 sample return failure damaged on landing, sample return failed [89]
Luna 1975A USSR 16 October 1975 sample return failure failed to reach Earth orbit [90]
Luna 24 USSR 18 August 1976 sample return success third and final successful sample return in Luna programme [91]
ICE (formerly ISEE3) NASA 22 December 1983 flyby success gravity assist en route to comet flybys [92]

1990–1999

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Hiten ISAS March 1990 – October 1991 flyby (approached 10 times) success in Moon-crossing Earth orbit from January 1990, later transferred to lunar orbit after failure of Hagoromo; intentionally impacted on Moon at end of mission; first Japanese probe to enter lunar orbit [93]
February 1992 – April 1993 orbiter success
   Hagoromo ISAS March 1990 orbiter failure released by Hiten into lunar orbit, but transmitter failed and orbit never confirmed
GEOTAIL ISAS / NASA September 1992 – November 1994 flyby (approached 14 times) success gravity assist en route magnetotail around L2 / finally deployed into high earth orbit [94]
Clementine BMDO/
NASA
February – June 1994 orbiter partial success lunar and Earth observations and component testing; planned Geographos flyby failed [95]
HGS-1 Hughes Global Services May/June 1998 errant communications satellite, flew within 6,200 kilometers of Moon during orbit correction manoeuvres [96]
Lunar Prospector NASA January 1998 –
July 1999
orbiter success lunar surface mapping; intentionally impacted into polar crater at end of mission to test for liberation of water vapour (not detected) [97]
Nozomi ISAS 24 September 1998 flyby success gravity assists on planned mission to Mars [98]
18 December 1998 flyby success

2000–2009

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
SMART-1 ESA 13 November 2004 –
3 September 2006
orbiter success technology testbed and lunar geological studies; intentionally impacted at end of mission; first European probe to orbit the Moon [99]
SELENE
(Kaguya)
JAXA 3 October 2007 – 10 June 2009 orbiter success mineralogical, geographical, magnetic and gravitational observations [100]
Okina
(Relay Star)
9 October 2007 – 12 February 2009 Kaguya subsatellite success relay for Kaguya's Far Side operations
Ouna
(VRAD)
12 October 2007 – 29 June 2009 Kaguya subsatellite success (still in orbit) Very Long Baseline Interferometry
Chang'e 1 CNSA 5 November 2007 – 1 March 2009 orbiter success 3D lunar mapping and geological observations; first Chinese probe to orbit a body besides Earth [101]
1 March 2009 impactor success collect data in preparation for future soft landing. [102]
Chandrayaan I ISRO 8 November 2008 – 29 August 2009 orbiter partial success high resolution three-dimensional mapping, search water in polar region (first detected water, published Science paper jointly with NASA) and spectral analysis of the Moon's surface and inner compositions [103]
Moon Impact Probe (MIP) 14 November 2008 impactor success test and demonstrate targeting technologies in anticipation of future soft landings, scientific observation of the Moon from close range [104]
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter NASA 23 June 2009 – orbiter in orbit survey of lunar resources and identification of possible landing sites [105]
   LCROSS 9 October 2009 impactor success analyzed upper-stage impact plume for traces of water liberated from the Moon's surface [106]

2010–present

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Chang'e 2 CNSA 1 October 2010 – 27 August 2011 orbiter success capture high resolution images of soft landing site for Chang'e 3, measure and analyze content of the surface [107]
ARTEMIS P1 NASA 2 July 2011 – orbiter in orbit to study the effect of the solar wind on the lunar surface [108]
ARTEMIS P2 NASA 17 July 2011 – orbiter in orbit to study the effect of the solar wind on the lunar surface [109]
GRAIL A NASA 31 December 2011 – 17 December 2012 orbiter success mapped the Moon's gravitational field; intentionally impacted at end of mission [110]
GRAIL B NASA 1 January 2012 – 12 December 2012 orbiter success mapped the Moon's gravitational field; intentionally impacted at end of mission [111]
LADEE NASA 6 September 2013 – planned 100-day mission orbiter in progress designed to study the lunar exosphere and dust [112]
Chang'e 3 CNSA 1 December 2013 orbiter in progress soft lander; successfully landed on Moon with Yutu rover 14 December 2013. [113]
lander/rover
Chang'e 5-T1 CNSA 23 October 2014 flyby and return in progress Engineering test article for reentry from lunar trajectory, carries secondary private payload 4M [114]

Future

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Mariner 10". National Space Science Data Centre. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
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