On This Day In Space: March 21, 1965: NASA launches Ranger 9 to the moon (Image Credit: Space.com)
On March 21, 1965, NASA launched the Ranger 9 spacecraft on a mission to crash into a lunar crater.
Ranger 9 was the last flight of NASA’s Ranger Program. The spacecraft would study the crater Alphonsus by crashing directly into it and taking pictures along the way.
After launching on an Atlas-Agena rocket, Ranger 9 spent nearly three days making its way over to the moon. During the last 20 minutes of its flight, it took around 6,000 high-quality images of the moon. It then plowed into the Alphonsus crater at a speed of nearly 9,000 miles per hour.
Images and videos from Ranger 9’s descent were broadcast on live television to millions of viewers in the United States.
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