Thursday, November 5, 2009
Long time readers may remember a previous post about the Pioneer 0-2 program. Above are 5 new images from an image archive that show, in great detail, the design of one of these nearly identical pioneer spacecraft. These were all designed to fly to the moon, and burn a large solid rocket (the nozzle can be seen in one image)to enter lunar orbit. This project is fascinating because it was a very risky series of attempts to do the nearly impossible. The technology at this time (both the rockets and satellite components) was very young and limited. But the attempts were made, and resulted in three partial or total failures. However one flight got past 100,000 KM. That is pretty impressive.
"Professor Van Allen, developer of Pioneer’s ion counter, hedged his bet. “The success of the experiment does not depend on whether the rocket hits, or even comes near the moon. We will consider the flight a success if the rocket reaches out 40,000 miles, let alone 220,000 miles!” he declared."
More images here.
Even more images here.
Three quick reads on the program (Pt. 1)