The first space probe to successfully transmit close images of the lunar surface back to Earth. It was also the first completely successful flight of the Ranger program.
Launched on July 28, 1964, Ranger 7 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 to accomplish these objectives.
Ranger 7 transmitted photographs during the final 17 minutes of its flight. This data set contains 4308 photographs of the moon that provide information about small topographic features of the lunar surface.
The spacecraft landed between Mare Nubium and Oceanus Procellarum. This landing site was later named Mare Cognitum.
The velocity at impact was 1.62 miles per second, and the performance of the spacecraft exceeded hopes.
Featured Image: An artist’s concept of NASA’s Ranger spacecraft approaching the Moon./ Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech