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List of lunar probes

Surveyor 3 on the Moon.
The first image returned by Luna 3 showed the far side of the Moon

This is a list of space probes that have flown by, impacted, orbited or landed on the Moon for the purpose of lunar exploration, as well as probes launched toward the Moon that failed to reach their target.

The crewed Apollo missions are listed at List of missions to the Moon.

Contents

KeyEdit

Colour key:

     – Mission or flyby completed successfully (or partially successfully)          – Failed or cancelled mission
     – Mission en route or in progress (including mission extensions)      – Planned mission
  • means "tentatively identified", as classified by NASA [1]. These are Cold War-era Soviet missions, mostly failures, about which few or no details have been officially released. The information given may be speculative.[needs update]
  • Date is the date of:
  • closest encounter (flybys)
  • impact (impactors)
  • orbital insertion to end of mission, whether planned or premature (orbiters)
  • landing to end of mission, whether planned or premature (landers)
  • launch (missions that never got underway due to failure at or soon after launch)
In cases which do not fit any of the above, the event to which the date refers is stated. Note that as a result of this scheme missions are not always listed in order of launch.
  • In the case of flybys (such as gravity assists) that are incidental to the main mission, "success" indicates the successful completion of the flyby, not necessarily that of the main mission.

Lunar probes by dateEdit

1958–1960Edit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Pioneer 0   DOD 17 August 1958 orbiter failure first attempted launch beyond Earth orbit; launch vehicle failure; maximum altitude 16 km   [2]
Luna E-1 No.1   USSR 23 September 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [3]
Pioneer 1   NASA/
  DOD
11 October 1958 orbiter failure second stage premature shutdown; maximum altitude 113,800 km; some data returned   1958-007A
Luna E-1 No.2   USSR 12 October 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [4]
Pioneer 2   NASA/
  STL
8 November 1958 orbiter failure third stage failure; maximum altitude 1,550 km; some data returned   PION2
Luna E-1 No.3   USSR 4 December 1958 impactor failure launch vehicle failure [5]
Pioneer 3   NASA/
  DOD
6 December 1958 flyby failure fuel depletion; maximum altitude 102,360 km; some data returned   1958-008A
Luna 1   USSR 4 January 1959 flyby partial success first spacecraft in the vicinity of the Moon (flew within 5,995 km, but probably an intended impactor) 1959-012A
Pioneer 4   NASA/
  DOD
4 March 1959 flyby partial success achieved distant flyby; first US probe to enter solar orbit   1959-013A
Luna E-1A No.1   USSR 18 June 1959 impactor failure failed to reach Earth orbit   [6]
Luna 2   USSR 14 September 1959 impactor success first impact on Moon   1959-014A
Pioneer P-1   NASA 24 September 1959? orbiter? failure designation sometimes given to a failed launch or launchpad explosion during testing; conflicting information between sources  
Luna 3   USSR 6 October 1959 flyby success first images from the lunar farside   1959-008A
Pioneer P-3   NASA 26 November 1959 orbiter failure disintegrated shortly after launch   PIONX
Luna 1960A   USSR 15 April 1960 flyby failure failed to attain correct trajectory   [7]
Luna 1960B   USSR 16 April 1960 flyby failure launch vehicle failure   [8]
Pioneer P-30   NASA 25 September 1960 orbiter failure second stage failure; failed to reach Earth orbit   PIONY
Pioneer P-31   NASA 15 December 1960 orbiter failure first stage failure   PIONZ

1962–1965Edit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Ranger 3   NASA 28 January 1962 impactor failure missed target   1962-001A
Ranger 4   NASA 26 April 1962 impactor failure hit the lunar farside; no data returned   1962-012A
Ranger 5   NASA 21 October 1962 impactor failure power failure, missed target   1962-055A
Sputnik 25   USSR 5 January 1963 lander failure failed to escape Earth orbit 1963-001A
Luna E-6 No.3   USSR 2 February 1963 lander? failure failed to reach Earth orbit [9]
Luna 4   USSR 5 April 1963 lander? failure missed target, became Earth satellite 1963-008B
Ranger 6   NASA 2 February 1964 impactor partial success impacted, but no pictures returned due to power failure   1964-007A
Luna 1964A   USSR 21 March 1964 lander failure failed to reach Earth orbit
Ranger 7   NASA 31 July 1964 impactor success returned pictures until impact   1964-041A
Ranger 8   NASA 20 February 1965 impactor success returned pictures until impact   1965-010A
Cosmos 60   USSR 12 March 1965 lander failure failed to leave Earth orbit 1965-018A
Ranger 9   NASA 24 March 1965 impactor success TV broadcast of live pictures until impact   1965-023A
Luna 1965A   USSR 10 April 1965 lander? failure failed to reach Earth orbit? [10]
Luna 5   USSR 12 May 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon 1965-036A
Luna 6   USSR 8 June 1965 lander failure missed Moon 1965-044A
Zond 3   USSR 20 July 1965 flyby success possibly originally intended as a Mars probe, but target changed after launch window missed 1965-056A
Luna 7   USSR 7 October 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon 1965-077A
Luna 8   USSR 6 December 1965 lander failure crashed into Moon 1965-099A

1966–1967Edit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 9   USSR 3 February 1966 –
6 February 1966
lander success first soft landing; first images from the surface 1966-006A
Cosmos 111   USSR 1 March 1966 orbiter failure failed to escape Earth orbit   1966-017A
Luna 10   USSR 3 April 1966 –
30 May 1966
orbiter success first artificial satellite of the moon   1966-027A
Luna 1966A   USSR 30 April 1966 orbiter? failure failed to reach Earth orbit   [11]
Surveyor 1   NASA 2 June 1966 lander success first US soft landing; Surveyor program performed various tests in support of forthcoming manned landings   1966-045A
Explorer 33   NASA 1 July 1966 –
15 September 1971
orbiter partial success studied interplanetary plasma, cosmic rays, magnetic fields and solar X rays; failed to attain lunar orbit as intended, but achieved mission objectives from Earth orbit   1966-058A
Lunar Orbiter 1   NASA 14 August 1966 –
29 October 1966
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission   1966-073A
Luna 11   USSR 28 August 1966 –
1 October 1966
orbiter success gamma-ray and X-ray-based observations of Moon's composition; gravity, radiation and meteorite studies 1966-078A
Surveyor 2   NASA 23 September 1966 lander failure crashed into Moon   1966-084A
Luna 12   USSR 25 October 1966 –
19 January 1967
orbiter success lunar surface photography 1966-094A
Lunar Orbiter 2   NASA 10 November 1966 –
11 October 1967
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission   1966-100A
Luna 13   USSR 24 December 1966 lander success TV pictures of lunar landscape; soil measurements 1966-116A
Lunar Orbiter 3   NASA 8 February 1967 –
9 October 1967
orbiter success photographic mapping of lunar surface; intentionally impacted after completion of mission   1967-008A
Surveyor 3   NASA 20 April 1967 –
4 May 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings   1967-035A
Lunar Orbiter 4   NASA May–October 1967 orbiter success lunar photographic survey   1967-041A
Explorer 35   NASA July 1967 –
24 June 1973
orbiter success studies of interplanetary plasma, magnetic fields, energetic particles and solar X rays   1967-070A
Surveyor 4   NASA 17 July 1967 lander failure crashed into Moon   1967-068A
Lunar Orbiter 5   NASA 5 August 1967 –
31 January 1968
orbiter success lunar photographic survey; intentionally impacted after completion of mission   1967-075A
Surveyor 5   NASA 11 September 1967 –
17 December 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings   1967-084A
Zond 1967A   USSR 28 September 1967 failure lunar capsule test flight; launch failure   [12]
Surveyor 6   NASA 10 November 1967 –
14 December 1967
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings   1967-112A
Zond 1967B   USSR 22 November 1967 failure lunar capsule test flight; launch failure   [13]

1968–1970Edit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Surveyor 7   NASA 10 January 1968 –
21 February 1968
lander success various studies, primarily in support of forthcoming manned landings; fifth and final Surveyor mission to achieve soft landing   1968-001A
Luna 1968A   USSR 7 February 1968 orbiter? failure failed to reach Earth orbit [14]
Zond 4   USSR 2 March 1968 (launch) lunar programme flight test, directed away from Moon, either intentionally or unintentionally   1968-013A
Luna 14   USSR 10 April 1968 – ? orbiter success tests of radio communications technologies; lunar mascon studies 1968-027A
Zond 1968A   USSR 23 April 1968 flyby? failure launch failure   [15]
Zond 5   USSR 18 September 1968 flyby success bioscience experiments; returned to soft landing on Earth   1968-076A
Zond 6   USSR 14 November 1968 flyby success cosmic-ray, micrometeoroid and bioscience studies; returned to soft landing on Earth   1968-101A
Zond 1969A   USSR 20 January 1969 flyby failure launch aborted   [16]
Luna 1969A   USSR 19 February 1969 rover failure launch vehicle failure   [17]
Zond L1S-1   USSR 21 February 1969 orbiter failure launch vehicle failure   [18]
Luna 1969B   USSR 15 April 1969 sample return? failure launch failure   [19]
Luna 1969C   USSR 14 June 1969 sample return failure launch failure   [20]
Zond L1S-2   USSR 3 July 1969 orbiter failure launch failure   [21]
Luna 15   USSR 21 July 1969 sample return? failure? completed 52 lunar orbits then crash-landed   1969-058A
Zond 7   USSR 11 August 1969 flyby success returned to soft landing on Earth   1969-067A
Cosmos 300   USSR 23 September 1969 sample return failure failed to escape Earth orbit   1969-080A
Cosmos 305   USSR 22 October 1969 sample return failure failed to escape Earth orbit   1969-092A
Luna 1970A   USSR 6 February 1970 sample return? failure launch vehicle failure   [22]
Luna 1970B   USSR 19 February 1970 orbiter? failure launch vehicle failure   [23]
Luna 16   USSR 20 September 1970 sample return success first robotic sample return   1970-072A
Zond 8   USSR 24 October 1970 flyby success returned to soft landing on Earth   1970-088A
Luna 17   USSR 17 November 1970 –
4 October 1971
lander success deployed rover   1970-095A
   Lunokhod 1 rover success first robotic rover; travelled over 10 km 1970-095D

1971–1976Edit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Luna 18   USSR 11 September 1971 lander/sample return? failure crashed into Moon   1971-073A
Luna 19   USSR 3 October 1971 –
October 1972
orbiter success   1971-082A
Luna 20   USSR 21 February 1972 sample return success second successful robotic sample return   1972-007A
Soyuz L3   USSR 23 November 1972 orbiter failure launch failure   [24]
Luna 21   USSR 15 January 1973 –
May 1973?
lander success deployed rover   1973-001A
   Lunokhod 2 rover success second robotic rover; travelled 37 km
Explorer 49   NASA 15 June 1973 –
June 1975
orbiter success radio astronomy observations; last US lunar mission until 1994   1973-039A
Mariner 10   NASA November 1973 flyby success en route to Venus and Mercury   1973-085A
Luna 22   USSR 2 June 1974 –
November 1974
orbiter success   1974-037A
Luna 23   USSR 6 November 1974 sample return failure damaged on landing, sample return failed 1974-084A
Luna 1975A   USSR 16 October 1975 sample return failure failed to reach Earth orbit [25]
Luna 24   USSR 18 August 1976 sample return success third and final successful sample return in Luna programme 1976-081A

1983–1998Edit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
ICE (formerly ISEE-3)   NASA 22 December 1983 flyby success gravity assist en route to comet flybys   1978-079A
Hiten   ISAS March 1990 – October 1991 flyby (approached 10 times) success in Moon-crossing Earth orbit from January 1990, later transferred to lunar orbit after failure of Hagoromo; intentionally impacted on Moon at end of mission; first Japanese probe to enter lunar orbit   1990-007A
February 1992 – April 1993 orbiter success
   Hagoromo   ISAS March 1990 orbiter failure released by Hiten into lunar orbit, but transmitter failed and orbit never confirmed
GEOTAIL   ISAS /  NASA September 1992 – November 1994 flyby (approached 14 times) success gravity assist en route magnetotail around L2 / finally deployed into high Earth orbit [26]
WIND   NASA 1 December 1994 and 27 December 1994 flyby success gravity assists en route to Earth–Sun L1 Lagrangian point   1994-071A
Clementine   BMDO/
  NASA
February – June 1994 orbiter partial success lunar and Earth observations and component testing; planned Geographos flyby failed   1994-004A
HGS-1 Hughes Global Services May/June 1998 errant communications satellite, flew within 6,200 kilometers of Moon during orbit correction manoeuvres 1997-086A
Lunar Prospector   NASA January 1998 –
July 1999
orbiter success lunar surface mapping; intentionally impacted into polar crater at end of mission to test for liberation of water vapour (not detected)   1998-001A
Nozomi   ISAS 24 September 1998 flyby success gravity assists on planned mission to Mars 1998-041A
18 December 1998 flyby success

2001–2009Edit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
WMAP   NASA 30 July 2001 flyby success gravity assist en route to Earth–Sun L2 Lagrangian point   2001-027A
SMART-1   ESA 13 November 2004 –
3 September 2006
orbiter success technology testbed and lunar geological studies; intentionally impacted at end of mission; first European probe to orbit the Moon 2003-043C
STEREO A   NASA 15 December 2006 flyby success gravity assist to enter a heliocentric orbit   2006-047A
STEREO B   NASA 15 December 2006 and 21 January 2007 flyby success gravity assists to enter a heliocentric orbit 2006-047B
SELENE
(Kaguya)
  JAXA 3 October 2007 – 10 June 2009 orbiter success mineralogical, geographical, magnetic and gravitational observations   2007-039A
Okina
(Relay Star)
9 October 2007 – 12 February 2009 Kaguya subsatellite success relay for Kaguya's Far Side operations
Ouna
(VRAD)
12 October 2007 – 29 June 2009 Kaguya subsatellite success (still in orbit) Very Long Baseline Interferometry
Chang'e 1   CNSA 5 November 2007 – 1 March 2009 orbiter success 3D lunar mapping and geological observations; first Chinese probe to orbit a body besides Earth; impacted to collect data in preparation for future soft landings   2007-051A [27][28]
Chandrayaan-1   ISRO 8 November 2008 – 29 August 2009 orbiter partial success high resolution 3D mapping, search water in polar region (first detection of water) and spectral analysis of the Moon's surface and inner compositions   2008-052A [29]
Moon Impact Probe (MIP) 14 November 2008 impactor success test and demonstrate targeting technologies for future soft landings, scientific observation from close range [30]
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter   NASA 23 June 2009 – orbiter in orbit survey of lunar resources and identification of possible landing sites   2009-031A
LCROSS   NASA 23 June 2009 flyby success consisted of the Shepherding Spacecraft and Centaur upper stage (Earth Departure Upper Stage)   2009-031B [31]
   LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft 9 October 2009 impactor success analyzed upper-stage impact plume for traces of water liberated from the Moon's surface
   LCROSS Earth Departure Upper Stage 9 October 2009 impactor success

2010–presentEdit

Spacecraft Organization Date Type Status Notes Image Ref
Chang'e 2   CNSA 1 October 2010 – 27 August 2011 orbiter success capture high resolution images of the landing zone for Chang'e 3, measure and analyze composition of the surface 2010-050A [32]
ARTEMIS P1   NASA 2 July 2011 – orbiter in orbit to study the effect of the solar wind on the lunar surface   2007-004B [33]
ARTEMIS P2   NASA 17 July 2011 – orbiter in orbit to study the effect of the solar wind on the lunar surface 2007-004C [34]
GRAIL A
(Ebb)
  NASA 31 December 2011 – 17 December 2012 orbiter success mapped the Moon's gravitational field; intentionally impacted at end of mission   2011-046A [35]
GRAIL B
(Flow)
  NASA 1 January 2012 – 12 December 2012 orbiter success mapped the Moon's gravitational field; intentionally impacted at end of mission 2011-046B [36]
LADEE   NASA 6 September 2013 – 8 April 2014 orbiter success designed to study the lunar exosphere and dust   2013-047A
Chang'e 3   CNSA 1 December 2013 –
2016?
lander success soft-landed on the Moon and deployed Yutu rover on 14 December 2013 2013-070A [37]
   Yutu rover success survived multiple lunar nights, became immobile 42 days after landing 2013-070C
Chang'e 5-T1   CNSA 28 October 2014 flyby success Technology demonstrator for Chang'e 5 mission; after separating the Xiaofei reentry capsule, the service module eventually entered lunar orbit to conduct rendezvous exercises 2014-065A [38]
10 January 2015 – orbiter in progress
Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (private) October 2014 flyby success privately funded payload attached to a Long March 3C rocket third stage; its dosimeter measured ionizing radiation in space. [39][40]
TESS   NASA 17 May 2018 flyby success gravity assist to achieve a lunar resonant high Earth orbit   2018-038A
Queqiao   CNSA 25 May 2018 – flyby / L2 orbiter success Used a gravity assist en route to the Earth–Moon L2 Lagrangian point. Will act as relay for Chang'e 4 after it lands on the far side. 2018-045A
Longjiang-1   HIT 25 May 2018 orbiter failure malfunctioned after launch, became flyby 2018-045B
Longjiang-2   HIT 25 May 2018 – orbiter in progress Very Long Baseline Interferometry 2018-045C
Chang'e 4   CNSA 7 December 2018 – lander in transit
   Rover rover in transit

FutureEdit

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit