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JANUARY 18, 19624i
Ranger 3 represents the first attempt by the United
Staten to take closeup pictures of the moon and to make
measuremewts on the lunar surface. Three spacecraft,
Rangers 3, 4A, and 5, will be launched by the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration at intervals during
1962 in an attempt to photograph the moon closerp, provide
information on the composition of' the lunar suriace and
learn more about its history and structure by means of an
instrumented capsule that is designed to survive a landing
on the moon.
Ranger 3, scheduled for launch within a few days
from the Atlantic Missile Range, Cape Canaveral, Fla.,
is the first of this series of identical spacecraft. It is
a 727-pound gold- and silver-plated machine that will be
called on in a 66-hour flight to the moon to perform the
moot complicated series of events that a U.S. spacecraft
yet has been asked to undertake.
It will be asked to:
1. Leave the earth, achieve a parking orbit and
reach escape velocity of 24,500 miles an hour.
2. Perform a three axis maneuver in space to look
onto the sun and the earth.
3. Accept correction commands from the earth, change
its orientation in flight and fire a mid-course motor to
put itself on collision course with the moon.
4, Reestablish its look on the sun and the earth.
5. Perform a terminal maneuver when it gets to
within 5000 miles of the moon.
6. Take television pictures of the lunar surface as it
approaches the moon.
7. Mak: studies of the composition of the lunar surface
and its radar reflection characteristics.

8. Separate a retro rocket and capsule system from the

spacecraft when it is 70,000 feet above the lunar surface.
9. Fire the retro rocket to slow. the capsule system from
6000 miles an hour to zero velocity 1,100 feet above the surface
oY"%he moon.
10. Detach an instrumented capsule containing a seismometer
from the :'etro rocket so that it rough lands after a free fall
from 1100 feet, survives the landing, positions itself and
then sends for 30 days information on moon quakes and meteoritic
The assignment is so complex that the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration has assigned.three identical spacecraft
to the task in the hope that one of the three will be successful.

The Ranger program is being carried out for the NASA by the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, operated for the NASA by the
California Institute of Technology. In the. Ranger 3 spacecraft,
the Aeronutronic Division of Ford Motor Company, Newport Beach,
Calif;., provided the lunar capsule subsystem.

There are four scientific experiments on Range: 3. The

experiments are the seismometer, Seismological Laboratory of
the California Institute of Teenology and the Laiont Geophysical
obsevatoy of Columbia University; lunar photography
experiment, the Univerity of Arizona, the U.S,. Geological
Survey, and the University of Caliifornia at San Diego and'JPL;
gamma -ay experiment, the University of California at San
Diego, the Lok Alamos Scientific Laboratories arid JPL,
(the gamma ray experiment); and JVL, the radar reflectivity

Ranger 3 is similar in appeazrance to its two predecessors,
Ranger 1andII, in uses the same basic. hexagonal
structure and solar pAnels -that marked those two spacecraft.
*JPL engineers who designed the Ranger series call the basic
hexagon the bus, in the sense that it serves as an omnibus
to carry different passengers in the form of different
scientific and engineering instruments.

- 1-2 -
As in the case of the other Rangers, Ranger 3 was
preceded by a Proof Test Model (PTM) which was made as
identical to the flight hardware as possible. The Ranger 3
PTM assembly started in April, 1961, and was subjected to
strains and stresses far in excess of what can be expected in
the flight. The PTM was subjected to vibration tests 125 per
cent in excess of vibrations it can expect to encounter in
flight, it was exposed to temperatures ranging between 32 and
122 degrees Fahrenheit, it was put in vacuums down to .000007
millimeters of mercury, and it went through many complete
simulated flight tests and countdowns.

Assembly of the flight hardware of Ranger 3 was started

July 1, 1961, and its testing was completed in November.
On November 15, the Ranger 3 left JPL in Pasadena by special
truck for Cape Canaveral, and arrived there November 20. At
the Atlantic Missile Range, Ranger 3 was put through system
tests, checkouts and calibrations. Twc days before launch,
it was to undergo a precountdown test which was to be held at
that time in order to have time to correct anything found

Ranger 3 is five feet in diameter at the base of the

hexagon and in its launch position with the solar panels folded
up in the manner of butterfly wings. In its launch position
it is 8.25 feet in height. In the cruise position, with its
solar panels extended and the high-gain directional antenna
in its extended position, it is 17 feet across in span and
10.25 feet in height.

The 727-pound weight of the spacecraft includes 328 pounds

for the .unar capsule and retro rocket system. The instrument
capsule, designed to survive the landing on the moon, weighs
56.7 pounds and is covered-by a balsa wood impact limiter to
cushion the shock of landing. The impact limiter weighs 39.8
pounds, making the instrumented sphere and the limiter weigh
a total of 96.5 pounds.

The lunar capsule rests atop a retro motor which in

turn-sits on the uop of the spacecraft hexagon. The retro
motor, with a thrust of 5080 pounds, weighs 213 pounds,
together with its small spin motor thLat rotates the assemtly
for stability just before the retro motor is fired.

Attached to the hexagonal base are the two solar panels

which in flight will collect solar energy which in turn will
be cbnverted into electrical power to run the spacecraft.
The panels contaln 4340 solar cells each in approximately
10 square feel of each panel, making a total of 8680 cells
on the two panels. They will pick up enough solar eniergy
to be converted into a minimum of 155 watts and a maximum of
210 watts, unregula .(over)

In one of the six boxes around the base is a 25-pound
silver zinc launch and backup battery with a capacity of 1000
watt hours. This battery will be used to provide power for
Ranger 3 when the solar cells are not operating, such as
in the midcourse maneuver and prior to landing.
Ranger 3 has three antennas--two on the spacecraft or
bus and one on the top of the instrumented sphere that will
land on the moon. The lunar capsule transmitter is powered by
six silver cadmium batteries to run the transmitter for at
least 30 days to transmit moon quake information from the sphere
to the earth.
The two antennas on the spacecraft are the omnidirectional
antenna positioned at the forward end of the spacecraft and the
four-foot-in-diameter high-gain directional antenna which is
hinged mounted at the aft end.
Mounted in the hollowed-out section in the middle of
the hexagon is the mid-courseimotor which was developed
by JPL several years ago and has since been used in other U.S.
space tests.

It is a liquid monopropellant engine that weighs, with

fuel and the helium pressure gas system, 36.12 pounds. The
hydrazine fuel is held in a rubber bladder contained inside a
football-shaped container called the pressure dome. When the
mid-course motor receives the commanid to fire, helium under
3000 pounds of pressure per square inch is admitted inside
the pressure dome and squeezes the rubber bladder which contains
the hydrazine fuel.
The hydrazine is thus forced into the combustion chamber,
but because 'it is a monopropellant, it needs a starting fluid
to initiate combustion and a catalyst to maintain combustion.
The starting fluid used, in this case nitrogen tetroxide, is
admitted into the combustion chamber by means of a pressurized
cartridge. The introduction of the nitrogen tetroxide causes
ignition, and the burning in the combustion chamber is
maintained by the catalyst, aluminum oxide pellets stored in
the chamber. Burning stops when the valves turn off helium
pressure and fuel flow.
At the bottom of the nozzle of the mid-course motor
are four jet vanes which protrude into the rocket exhaust for
attitude control of the spacecraft during the period of the
mid-course burn.

The mid-courm motor is so precise that it can burn in
bursts of as little as 50 milliseconds and can increase velocity
by as little as one-tenth of a foot per second or as much as
144 feet per second. It has a thrust of 50 pounds for a
maximum of 68 seconds.

Also in one of the six boxes around she hexagon is a solid-

state digital computer called the Central Computer and
Sequencer (CC&S). This is a system which allows commands to be
stored in the system for later transmission to subsystem of
the spacecraft, and which also allows specific ground commands
to be stored in the CC&S for later routing to perform specific

Ranger 3 will use the parking orbit technique which is a

means by which the geometry imposed on moon impact shots by
the location of the Atlantic Missile range at Cape Canaveral,
Florida, is corrected by using the second-stage rocket as a
mobile launching platform in space.

The Atlas booster of the Atlas-Agena launch vehicle carried

Agena B and Ranger 2 to an altitude of 115 statute miles above
the earth and to a velocity considerably below orbital speed of
18,000 miles an hour.

C) During the launch phase, the Ranger spacecraft is protected

against aerodynamic heating by a shroud which covers it. -After
Atlas cutoff, at approximately 280 seconds, the shroud is
Jettisoned by eight spring-loaded bolts which shove it ahead
of the vehicle. At almost the same time, the Agena B separates
from the Atlas. At this time, the Agena B pitches down from
an attitude almost 15 degrees above the local horizon to
almost level with the local horizon.

In this horizontal attitude, the Agena B fires for the

first time and burns -or almost two and a half minutes to
reach orbital speed of 18,oQQ miles an hour. After this
burning time, Agena B shuts down and coasts in a parking
orbit for more than 13 minutes until it reaches the optimum
point in time and space in its orbit to fire for the second
After the-second Agena B burn, the Agena B and Ranger 3,
still as one unit are injected at escape velocity of 24,500
miles an hour approximately over Ascension Island in the
South Atlantic Ocean and approximately 23 minutes after
launch. Up to this time, the events of the launch, separation
of Agena from Atlas, operation of the Ranger spacecraft system
and ignition and cutoff times of Agena have been telemetered
to ground tracking stations through the Agena telemetry ayotem.
1-5 - (Over)
A little more than two minutes after second burn cutoff
or injection, Ranger 3 is separated from Agena, again by
Spring-loaded bolts. After this occurs, Agena does a 150-
degree yaw and moves into a different and lower trajectory
from that held by Ranger 3 by means of firing a solid retro
rocket on Agena. This is done for two reasons: 'it would not
be desirable for the unsterilized Agana to follow Ranger 3 on
in and impact the moon, and if Agena B follows Ranger 3 too
closely, the spacecraft optical sensors might mistake reflected
sunlight from Agena B for the sun or earth and thus confuse its
acquisition system.

Ranger 3 now is on a trajectory .that will take it fairly

close to the moon. 'The omnidirectional antenna now is working
and radiating its full three watts of power. Before and
during launch, the transmitter had been kept at half power of
1.5 watts. This was done because as the launch vehicle passes
through a critical area between 150,000 and 250,000 feet,
there is a tendency for devices using high voltage to arc over
and damage themselves; hence; the transmitter is kept at half
power until this area is passed.

Now it is possible to describe the sequence of events that

Ranger 3 will conduct on its 66-hour flight to the moon.

The first command is issued by the CC&S 30 minutes after

launch. Explosive pin pullers holding the solar panels in
their launch position are detonated to allow the spring- -

loaded solar panels to assume their cruise position. The

same command extends the gear-driven high-gain antenna at
the aft end. of the spacecraft to a preset position.

At launch plus 33 minutes, the CC&S turns on the attitude

control system and Ranger-3 starts the process of looking for
the sun with its solar sensors, locking on the sun, and then
searching for the earth with its high-gain antenna without
losing the lock on the sun.

There are six sun sensors mounted on Ranger 3. They are

four primary sensors on four of the six legs of the hexagon,
and two secondary sensors mounted on the backs of the solar
panels. These are light-sensitive diodes which inform the
attitude control system-gas jets and gyros--when they see
the sun. The two secondary sensors on the backs of the solar
panels informi the attitude control system when they donit
see the sun. The attitude control system responds to these
signals by turning the spacecraft in such a manner that the
longitudinal, or roll axis, points toward the sun. Torquing
of the spacecraft for these maneuvers is provided by ten
cold gas jets which are fed by three bottles of nitrogen
gas containing a total of 2.5 pounds of nitrogen under
pressure of 3500 pounds per square inch. This is calculated
to be enough nitrogen to operate the gas jets to maintain
attitude control for a minimum of 50 days and a maximum of
100 days.
- 1-6 -

Tne gyros have first acted to cancel out the residual

separation rates which affected Ranger 3 after if left Agena B.
The sun sensors then, working on the valves controlling the
gas jets, jockey the spacecraft about until its long axis is
pointed at the sun. Both the gyros and the sun sensors can
.activate the gas jet valves. In order to conserve gas, the
attitude control system permits a pointing error toward the
sun of one degree, or .5 degree on each side of dead on. The
mixing network in the attitude control system is calibrated to
keep Ranger 3 slowly swinging through this one degree of arc
pointed at the sun. The swing takes approximately 60 minutes.
As Ranger 3 nears the .5 degree limlit on one side, the sensors
signal the gas jets and they fire again. This process is
repeated hourly through the effective life of Ranger 3. It
is calculated that the gas jets will fire one-tenth of a second
each 60 minutes to keep the spacecraft's solar panels pointed
at the sun.
The sun acquisition process is expected to take 29
minutes. When it is completed, the secondary sun sensors on
the backs of the solar panels are turned off to avoid having
light from the earth confuse them. After the solar panels
are locked on the sun, the power system now recognizes that it
is getting electric power from the solar panels, so it switches
from the silver zinc battery and uses the solar power to feed
the power demands of Ranger.
Three and a half hours after launch, the CC&S commands
Ranger 3 to start the earth acquisition process, which
requires 30 minutes. The spacecraft maintains its lock on
the sun, but with its high-gain directional antenna pointed
at a preset angle, it rolls on its long axis and starts to
look for the earth. It does this by means of a three-section
photo-multiplier-tube-operated earth sensor which is mounted
co-axially with the high-gain antenna. During the roll, the
earth sensor will see the earth and inform the gas jets.
The jets will fire to keep the earth in view of the sensor
and thus lock onto the earth.
The spacecraft now is stabilized on two axes--the solar
panel-sun axis and the earth-directional antenna axis.
There is some danger that the earth sensor, during its
search for the. earth, may see the moon and lock onto that,
but telemetry later will inform earth stations if this has
occurred, and Goldstone has the ability to send an override
tommand to the attitude control system to tell it to look
again for the earth.

This w~ll not be known, however, until Ranger' 3 rises
on the Goldstone horizon 12.5 hours after launch. At that
time, Goldstone will send Ranger 3 a comrmano to switch from
the omnidirectional antenna to the directional antenna. If
the increase in received signal strength indicates that the
directional antenna is locked on the earth, no furtner commands
in this area are necessary at the moment. But if the signal
strength drops, indicating that the directional antenna is not
pointed at the earth, the override roll command will be sent
to Ranger 3 to look for the earth again. If this is not
sufficient, Goldstone also has the ability to send a hinge
override- command to change the position of the antenna and
start the search for the earth again.
Four hours after launch, CC&S will turn on the gamma ray
experiment. This is a spectrometer contained in a 12-inch-
in-diameter ball mounted on a 40-inch-long arm on the hexagon.
Later in the flight, pressurized gas will be used to extend
this telescoping arm to 72 inches away from the spacecraft
in order to avoid the measurement of secondary effects
created by cosmic rays hitting the main bulk of the spacecraft.
It is not deemed desirable to extend the gamma ray boom
at this time, however, since Ranger 3 still must perform its
mid-course corrective maneuver to get on collision course
with the moon. In order to perform this maneuver with
precision, of course, it is necessary to know the precise
center of gravity of the spacecraft. If the gamma ray boom
were ordered out to its extended position, and it did not
for some reason obey this order, the center of gravity would
be different from the calculated point, and the precision of
the mid-course maneuver would be affected. So the boom
stays in the retracted position until the mid-course maneuver
is completed.
From that point on, four hours ay'er launch, until the start
of the-mid-course maneuver 16 hours fter launch, most 6f.the
activity takes place at the three ep Space Instrumentation
Facility stations--Woomera, Austr ia; Johannesburg, South
Africa; Goldstone, California--a d at JPL.
Tracking data from these hree stations are fed into the
7090 computer at JPL in Pasadena. The computer calculates
the position of the spacecraft as it is in fact in relation
to where it.should be in order to hit the moon. If it is
the case, as it is likely to be, that guidance errors before
injection have put it off its optimum trajectory, the computer
will provide a set of figures that will tell the spacecraft
how it has to change its orientation in space in order to
properly arm the mid-course motor for its corrective maneuver.

- 1-8 - [
This intelligence will be in the form of a four-word
command that will be sent to the spacecraft and stored in
the CC&S.
One word sent to the CC&S concerns the direction and
amount of pitch necessary for Ranger 3 and another word
concezns the direction and amount of roll needed. The third
wor'd is the amount of velocity ihcrement needed from the mid-
course motor. These three words are sent from Goldstone
to the Ranger 3 CC&S, where they are checked to see if they
are addressed to the proper places in the spacecraft. CC&S
takes no action, however, until it receives the 'go"
command from Goldstone. While waiting for that command,
the spacecraft sends back to Goldstone, for rechecking,
the words it received. If there are no changes to be made,
30 minutes after the Ranger 3 CC&S has received and stored
the commands, it receives at 16 hours after launch the
"go" command from Goldstone.

Just prior to issuing the "go" command, Goldstone

will have issued a command to Ranger 3 to switch from the
directional to the omni antenna and to move its directional
antenna out of the way of the exhaust of the mid-course

The roll maneuver requires 10 minutes of time, including

two minutes of settling time, and'the pitch maneuver
requires approximately the same time. When these are com-
pleted, the mid-course motor is turned on and burns for
the commanded time. The attitude control gas jets are
not powerful enough to maintain the stability of the space-
craft during mid-course maneuvering, so jet vanes extending
into the'exhaust of the mid-course motor control the
attitude of the spacecraft-in this period.
After the mid-course maneuver has put Ranger 3 on
the desired collision course, the spacecraft goes through
the sun and earth acquisitioncmodes again. The double
acquisition is not so difficult 'this time, however, because
gyros in the attitude control system provide a reference
back to the attitude position it used before the mid-course
maneuver, and it quickly moves back to that position.

Ranger 3 now is at the limit of the range at which the

omni antenna can provide useful information, however, and
Ranger 3 has been transmitting through the omni at this
time. As a precaution against some accident which would
prevent Goldstone from switching the signal from the omni to
the directional antenna, CC&S contains a stored command
which it now implements to switch from the omni to the
directional antenna. This occurs two and a half hours after
iniation of the mid-course maneuver, and the directional
antenna stays on for the rest of the flight.
At the same time, CC&S commands the gamma ray boom
to extend, by means of pressurized gas to its limit of 72
inches away from the spacecraft. The gas contained in the
boom is not allowed to vent, since its quick escape
undoubtedly would perturb the attitude of the spacecraft. It
may leak out, however, but not at a rate that would affect
the spacecraft attitude.
For the next 48 hours, Ranger 3 continues on its course
to the moon, sending gamma ray reports back once every eight
minutes. Tracking data from all three DSIF stations are sent
to JPL and the 7090 computer calculates when impact will occur.
When the exact time of impact is comnputed,. it then will
be possible to back off in time and determine where the space-
craft will be 65 minutes before impact. The computer, using
this position of Impact minus 65 minutes, will determine the
kind of commands that have to be sent to the CC&S in order
for it to perform its terminal maneuver at that time.
These commands will be sent by Goldstone to Ranger 3 a
half hour before the spacecraft reaches this point in time
and space, or 95 minutes before impact.
The commands will be similar in nature to those sent to
govern the mid-course maneuver with the difference that this
time there will be no motor burn. The three commands, sent
to the CC&S and stored there against the time it receives the
"go" commandhre: direction and amount of pitch turndirec-
tion and amount of yaw turn, direction and amount of a second
pitch turn. The second pitch turn is necessary in order to
keep the directional antenna aimed at the earth.
The "go" command sent in real time from Goldstone 65
minutes before impact initiates a series of events which
sees the spacecraft using its attitude control system to
turn around and orient its television camera to the
suface of the moon. When this sequence is initiated,
Ranger 3 will be approximately 5000 miles above the lunar
surface. In the attitude required for the
maneuver the solar panels are not pointed at the sun, and
from now on power is provided by the battery. Initiation
of the terminal maneuver also turns on the television
camera for warmup; it will not start to take pictures
until later.

The last command of the CC&S, which is to stop the second
pitch maneuver, also initiates a two-minute time delay command
that moves back the arm holding the omnidirectional antenna in
place stop the lunar capsule. The two-minute delay is to allow
for settling time after the terminal maneuver. The omnidirection-
al antenna arm, released by an explosive bolt, moves back and
clears the path for the launch from the bus of the retro rocket
and lunar capsule.
At the same time, the spring-loaded radar antenna is moved
out so it can send its radar pulses to the lunar surface; and
a lid covering the television camera lens is moved out of the
way. At 2400 miles from the surface of the moon and 40 minutes
before impact, the television camera with its telescope starts
taking pictures of the lunar surface and transmitting them, one
every 13 seconds, to Goldstone.
The gamma ray telemetry also is shifted from low to high
rate so that instead of sending reports once every eight minutes,
it now sends reports once every 52 seconds.
The radar altimeter, ranging its signal against the sur-
C face of the moon and receiving the echo, initiates the next comr-
maid. At 70,200 feet above the lunar surface, and 8.1 seconds
before the main spacecraft is due to crash and destroy itself,
the delay time between the radar pulse and echo is such that
the altimeter will generate a fusing signal.
This fusing signal starts the lunar capsule launch sequence,
in this order of events:
The bus power source, the large battery, will explode four
bolt cutters on the clamp that holds the retro motor and the
lunar capsule assembly to the spacecraft. The clamp flies out.
Simultaneously the bus power source will blow a squib
switch which activates a battery and sequencer in a small
cookie-shaped container located between the retro rocket and the
lunar capsule. From that point on, the events that occur to the
retro rocket and the lunar capsule are governed by commands from
this cookie-shaped sequencer.
When the squib switch is closed, the sequencer powers three
timers. The first timer, with a built-in delay of 135 nillir
seconds, ignites the small spin motor in the nozzle of the retro
rocket motor.
This delay is programmed so that the clamp which holds
the assembly to the spacecraft; has time to fly free before the
capsule starts to spin. (Over)

The spin motor, with a thrust of 20 pounds, has three nozzles

tilted down at an angle of 10 degrees, so that when it ignites
and spins the retro rocket and the lunar capsule assembly up to
300 revolutions per minute, the downward tilt results in the
entire assembly lifting itself by approximately two and a half
feet above its cradled position in the spacecraft. The space-
craft goes on to crash into the moon and destroy itself.
The retro motor, with a thrust of 5080 pounds, then fires.
As it fires, it ejects the spin motor rocket that was contained
in its nozzle. The retro motor, with the lunar capsule positioned
on top, fires for 10 seconds and cancels out approximately 6000
miles an hour velocity from the capsule assembly.
When the retro rocket fires, it is expected to severely
affect the attitude of the main spacecraft so that probably the
dire-tional antenna-will lose its lock on the earth. The conse-
quence of this, of course, will be a sudden loss of transmission
of television pictures.

This retro rocket ignition is initiated at 52,000 feet

above the surface of the moon and comes to an end after burnout
of the retro motor so that the entire assembly would normally
come to zero velocity when it is approximately 1100 feet above -I
the lunar surface. The. 1100 foot altitude is chosen to provide
allowance for the normal dispersions in the system in order to
insure that the retro rocket will have time to complete its-job
of removing the velocity.

After burnout, a separation timer in the sequencer explodes

a clamp holding the lunar cansule to the retro motor, and the
two units, now separated, b(teh start to free fall into the moon.

The separation of the two units will be'such that the

burned-out retro motor is expected to lannd four or five seconds
ahead of the lunar capsule. This event will occur some 24
seconds after the main spacecraft has crash landed.

The balsa wood-covered instrumernted capsule is expected to

land with a speed of less than 150 miles an hour.
After it has landed, the instrument container in the balsa
wood covering will erect itself to point its antenna back to
earth and prepare to record and-telemeter back to earth lunar
body tremors it picks up from moon quakes or meteoritic impacts.
This process of preparation is expected to take 20 minutes.