LUNAR IMPACT: A History of Project Ranger


 

CONTENTS

 

Cover

 

Information Pages

 

Foreword

 

Preface


Part I.  THE ORIGINS OF RANGER

 

 1. THE ORIGINS OF RANGER

 

A Moon Flight Proposal

 

The First Lunar Flights

Sky and Planetary Science

 

From Interest to Resolve

 

 

 2. ORGANIZING THE CAMPAIGN

 

Prospects and Suggestions

 

Assigning Tasks to People

 

New Mechanisms for Management

 

Organizing for Ranger: Huntsville and the Air Force

 

Organizing for Ranger: JPL and Headquarters

 

Launch Vehicles: Management Problems Materialize

 

Reorganizing for Ranger

 

 

 3. SPACE SCIENCE AND THE RANGER MACHINE

 

A Planetary Machine for Space Science

 

The Vega-Ranger: Where Planet and Sky Science Meet

 

Creating the Ranger Machine

 

 

 4. RANGERíS LUNAR OBJECTIVES IN DOUBT

 

A Difference in Weights and Measures

 

Preparing for the Test Flights

 

When and How to Sterilize Spacecraft

 

Space Science and the Original Ranger Missions

 

 

 5. SUPPORTING THE FLIGHT OPERATIONS

 

The Deep Space Network

 

Space Flight Operations

 

Launch Operations

 

 

 6. TEST FLIGHTS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS

 

Planning the Ascent

 

Preparing for Launch

 

A Learning Experience

 

The Second Lesson

 

The Aftermath

 

 

 7. A NEW NATIONAL GOAL

 

Man on the Moon

 

Rangers for Apollo

 

The New Order

 

 

 8. THE QUESTION OF SCIENCE AND RANGER

 

Lunar Spacecraft Development: Sterilization in Practice

 

After the Apollo Decision: What Science and Where?

 

Science Reasserted in Project Ranger

 

Modifying Ranger for More Space Science

 

 

 9. LUNAR EXPLORATION BEGUN

 

Preparing to Go

 

A First Chance at the Moon

 

Reflections on a Near Miss

 

Another Chance

 

 

 10. WHICH WAY RANGER?

 

Family Relations

 

NASA's Lunar Objectives Reconsidered

 

One More Time

 

 

 11. IN THE COLD LIGHT OF DAWN

 

The Ranger Inquiry at JPL

 

The Kelley Board Investigation

 

New Management and New Objectives

 

Space Science Against the Wall

 

 


Part II.  THE NEW RANGER

 

 12. HOMESTRETCH ENGINEERING

 

Redesigning for Improved Reliability

 

Launch Vehicles Revisited

 

Requalifying Ranger: Progress and Problems

 

 

 13. SPACE SCIENCE: A NEW ERA AND HARD TIMES

 

Guaranteeing Support to Project Apollo

 

Planning in the Face of Change

 

Making a Case for More Rangers

 

Lunar Orbiter and Congress Intervene

 

 

 14. MORE MISSIONS FOR SCIENCE?

 

Block V Underway

 

Nonvisual Science: All or Nothing at All

 

 

 15. SIX TO THE MOON

 

Organizing Visual Science for Ranger Block III

 

Ready to Go

 

The Flight of Ranger

 

 

 16. THE WORST OF TIMES

 

The Ranger 6 Inquiry at JPL

 

The NASA Inquiry: Disparate Findings

 

A Public Accounting

 

Action and Reaction

 

Congress Investigates Ranger

 

 

 17. RANGER 7: A CRASHING SUCCESS

 

Reworking Ranger 7

 

On the Trail of Ranger 6

 

Preparing to Go Again

 

The Flight of Ranger 7

 

 

 18. KUDOS AND QUESTIONS

 

Jubilant Days

 

New Interest in a New Era

 

Hard Questions for Space Science

 

 

 19. THE RANGER LEGACY

 

One More for Apollo

 

The Last One for Science

 

Ranger: An Analysis

 

The Ranger Legacy

 

 


SOURCES


Sources

 


APPENDIXES


 

A.

LUNAR THEORY BEFORE 1964

B.

LUNAR MISSIONS 1958 THROUGH 1965

C.

SPACECRAFT TECHNICAL DETAILS

D

RANGER EXPERIMENTS

E.

BLOCK III VISUAL SCIENCE: MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

F.

RANGER SCHEDULE HISTORY

G.

RANGER FINANCIAL HISTORY

H.

RANGER PERFORMANCE HISTORY

I.

A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS

 

 


ILLUSTRATIONS


 

Figure

Description

Front

Front Cover

Moon

Moon

1

JPL Director William Pickering in 1954

2

STL Pioneer Lunar Probe (Courtesy TRW)

3

JPL Pioneer Lunar Probe

4

The Able Lunar Orbiter (Courtesy TRW)

5

Atlas-Vega Launch Vehicle

5a

Nose Fairing, Spacecraft JPL Third Stage

5b

G.E. Second Stage

5c

Atlas First Stage (in two parts)

5d Atlas First Stage (in two parts)

6

Luna 1

7

NASA Administrator Keith Glennan, Deputy Administrator Hugh Dryden, and Associate Administrator Richard Horner

8

Luna 3

9

NASA Space Flight Programs Director Abe Silverstein

10

JPL Lunar Program Director Clifford Cummings

11

JPL Ranger Project Manager James Burke

12

Marshall Agena Systems Manager Friedrich Duerr

13

Air Force Ranger Manager John Albert with James Burke

14

JPL Ranger Project Assistant Manager Gordon Kautz

15

NASA Lunar and Planetary Programs Chief Edgar Cortright

16

1960 Ranger Project Organization

17

Lockheed Agena Manager Harold Luskin

18

Spacecraft Attitude Stabilization in Three Axes

19

Vega Spacecraft Model

20

NASA Space Flight Programs Assistant Director for Space Sciences Homer Newell

21

Ranger Spacecraft Preliminary Design

22

Spacecraft Packaging

23

Typical Assembly Package

24

Ranger 1 and 2 Spacecraft Design

25

Ranger 3, 4, and 5 Superstructure Design

26

Venera 1

27

Ranger Block I Proof Test Model and Nose Shroud Mockup

28

Ranger 1 in Systems Test Complex

29

NASA Lunar Flight Systems Chief Oran Nicks

30

Scientific Experiments on the Block I Spacecraft

31

Scientific Experiments on the Block H Spacecraft

32

JPL Deep Space Instrumentation Facility Director Eberhardt Rechtin

33

Station Locations in the Deep Space Network

34

Twenty-Six-Meter Radio Antenna at Goldstone

35

The Deep Space Network-Spacecraft Link

36

JPL Space Flight Control Center, 1961

37

Space Trajectory Selected for Rangers 1 and 2

38

Agena B Satellite Configuration

39

Ranger Ascent Sequence

40

Three-Meter Antenna at Johannesburg

41

Launch of Ranger 1

42

Deep Space Tracking Coverage as a Function of Spacecraft Altitude

43

Ranger 2 Countdown Progresses Beneath a Full Moon

44

JPL Ranger Spacecraft Systems Manager Allen Wolfe

45

Ranger Block III Television Camera Sequencing

46

Model of Ranger Block III Preliminary Design

47

NASA Administrator James Webb

48

NASA Ranger Program Chief William Cunningham

49

Sterile Assembly of a Seismometer Capsule at Aeronutronic

50

Spacecraft, Showing Solar Panel Requirements

51

Lunar Launch Constraints

52

Technicians Make Final Adjustments to Ranger 3 at Cape Canaveral

53

Launch of Ranger 3

54

Ranger Block II Midcourse Maneuver

55

Ranger Block Il Terminal Maneuver Sequence

56

Technicians Prepare Ranger 4 for Launch at Cape Canaveral

57

Red, White, and Blue Cross (Copyright, Los Angeles Times; Reprinted with Permission)

58

The Mariner R Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle

59

JPL Space Flight Control Center Readied for Ranger 5

60

Ranger 5 Ignition

61

Officials Assembled for the Ranger 5 Postlaunch Press Conference at Cape Canaveral

62

JPL Lunar and Planetary Program Director Robert Parks

63

JPL Ranger Project Manager Harris Schurmeier

64

The Ranger Block III Spacecraft as Viewed from Above

65

The Ranger Block III Spacecraft as Viewed from Below

66

Assembly of Ranger 6: Installation of the Midcourse Motor

67

The Television Subsystem Is Readied for Tests at JPL

68

Northrop Manager of Project Ranger William Howard

69

JPL Ranger Block V Project Manager Geoffrey Robillard

70

JPL Ranger Project Scientist Thomas Vrebalovich

71

Block III Principal Investigator Gerard Kuiper

72

Block III Coexperimenter Eugene Shoemaker

73

Block III Coexperimenter Harold Urey

74

Block III Coexperimenter Raymond Heacock

75

Block III Coexperimenter Ewen Whitaker

76

At JPL Technicians Make Final Adjustments on Ranger 6

77

The Audience in Von Karman Auditorium Hears Downhower Describe the Final Moments in the Flight of Ranger 6

78

Homer Newell, William Pickering, and Harris Schurmeier Answer Newsmenís Questions at Ranger 6 Postflight Press Conference

79

"You're Shy-Iím Shy 28 Million Bucks" (Courtesy Fort Wayne [Indiana] News-Sentinel

80

NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Industry Affairs Earl

81

Dick Tracy Investigates, With Note From Burke to Schurmeier (Created by Chester Gould (c) Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate)

82

Exposed Pins in the Agena Umbilical Connector

83

Net Control Area in the New Space Flight Operations Facility

84

Launch of Ranger 7

85

Newell, Pickering, and Cortright Confer at the Flight Control Center Early on July 31, 1964

86

Cheering

87

And Weeping

88

Newell and Pickering Shake Hands Before the Ranger 7 Postflight Press Conference

89

Experimenters Heacock, Kuiper, and Whitaker Examine Ranger 7 Pictures at the Flight Control Center

90

Ranger 7 Closeup Pictures of the Sea of Clouds. Series of photos

90 a

An area 370.6 km on a side

90 b

90 c

90 d

90 e

90 f

An area 2960m on a side, with the Large Crater in the upper left about 100m in diameter

91

"Howdy" (Courtesy Tom Little in The [Nashviilel Tennessean)

92

Newell and Pickering Brief President Johnson

93

Shoemaker and Kuiper Answer Newsmen's Questions at the Interim Scientific Results Conference

94

Ranger Block III Terminal Maneuver

95

Kuiper, Heacock, and Whitaker Examine Ranger 8 Pictures at the Flight Control Center

96

Ranger 8 Pictures of the Sea of Tranquility. Series of photos

96 a

An area 107.8 km (N-S) by 123.9 km (E-W)

96 b

96 c

96 d

96 e

96 f

An area 1360.3m (N-S) by 1296.3m (E-W)

97

At Headquarters, NASA Administrator James Webb Explains Lunar Surface Model for President Johnson and Vice-President Humphrey

98

"Successful Launch" (Courtesy Gene Basset, Scripps-Howard Newspapers)

99

Urey, Whitaker, and Shoemaker Watch Ranger 9 Pictures Live" at the Flight Control Center

100

Urey, Kuiper, and Shoemaker Confer Before Ranger 9 Experimenters' Press Conference

101

Ranger 9 Pictures of the Crater Alphonsus. Series of photos

101 a An area 214 km (N-S) by 202.7 km (E-W)
101 b  
101 c  
101 d An area 3.2 km on a side

102

"Ranger 9 Touch" (Courtesy Tom Little in The [Nashville] Tennessean)

103

White House Awards Ceremony

104 a

X-Ray of Human Skull and X-Ray Enhanced by Computer Processing

104 b X-Ray of Human Skull Enhanced by Computer Processing

F_1

Appendix F: Ranger Schedule History

G_1

Appendix G: Ranger Financial History

Back

Back Cover

 

 


NOTES


 

1

THE ORIGINS OF RANGER

2

ORGANIZING THE CAMPAIGN

3

SPACE SCIENCE AND THE RANGER MACHINE

4

RANGERíS LUNAR OBJECTIVES IN DOUBT

5

SUPPORTING THE FLIGHT OPERATIONS

6

TEST FLIGHTS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS

7

A NEW NATIONAL GOAL

8

THE QUESTION OF SCIENCE AND RANGER

9

LUNAR EXPLORATION BEGUN

10

WHICH WAY RANGER?

11

IN THE COLD LIGHT OF DAWN

12

HOMESTRETCH ENGINEERING

13

SPACE SCIENCE: A NEW ERA AND HARD TIMES

14

MORE MISSIONS FOR SCIENCE?

15

SIX TO THE MOON

16

THE WORST OF TIMES

17

RANGER 7: A CRASHING SUCCESS

18

KUDOS AND QUESTIONS

19

THE RANGER LEGACY

 

 


INDEX


A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K  L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

 

 


The Author

 

The NASA History Series

 

Back Cover

 


Foreword  link to the previous page        link to the next page  Preface