Ranger Unmanned Spaceflight

Ranger 6

RangerNASA launches the Ranger 6 lunar probe, built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory and intended to go directly to the moon, transmitting pictures of the surface back to Earth until it impacts the lunar surface. After a year of fundamentally redesigning the Ranger vehicle, and dropping nearly all scientific experiments on board other than the television cameras (to the dismay of the scientific community), Ranger 6 is an attempt to redeem the troubled unmanned lunar program, and it hits the moon on schedule, but a power failure has fried its cameras prior to activation. NASA launches another internal investigation, with the entire Ranger program now on the line (and highly visible, since it has been made part of the preparation for manned Apollo lunar flights). A Congressional inquiry follows, with a very clear implication that another failed Ranger flight could have far-reaching consequences for NASA and JPL.