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Surveyor 2 was the second Americanmarker lunar lander in the Surveyor program intended to explore the Moon.

It was launched September 20, 1966 from Cape Kennedy aboard an Atlas-Centaur rocket.A mid-course correction failure resulted in the spacecraft losing control. Contact was lost with the spacecraft at 9:35 UTC, September 22.

Background

On February 3, 1966 Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth. Several months after, Surveyor 1 launched on May 30, 1966; landed on Oceanus Procellarummarker, June 2, 1966, also transmitting photographic data back to Earth.
Surveyor 1 is a tough act to follow

This spacecraft was the second of a series designed to achieve a soft landing on the moonand to return lunar surface photography for determining characteristics of the lunar terrain for Apollo program lunar landing missions. Besides transmitting photos, Surveyor 2 was planned to perform a 'bounce', to photograph underneath its own landing site. It was also equipped to return data on radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, bearing strength of the lunar surface, and spacecraft temperatures for use in the analysis of lunar surface temperatures.

Failure

The target area proposed was within Sinus Mediimarker. The Atlas-Centaur had placed Surveyor 2 on a path to the moon that was only 130 km from its aim point. During the midcourse correction maneuver, one vernier engine failed to ignite, resulting in an unbalanced thrust that caused the spacecraft to tumble for its remaining 54 hours. Attempts to salvage the mission failed. Contact was lost with the spacecraft at 9:35 UTC, September 22. The spacecraft was targeted at Sinus Mediimarker, but crashed near Copernicus cratermarker. The spacecraft impacted the lunar surface at 03:18 UTC, September 23, 1966. Its weight on landing was 644 lb (292 kg), and speed was 1500 miles an hour.

Aftermath

The next Soviet mission, Cosmos 111, was launched on March 1, 1966. The mission was also a failure. Surveyor 3 soft-landed on April 20, 1967 at the Mare Cognitummarker portion of the Oceanus Procellarum. It transmitted a total of 6,315 TV images to the Earth.There were seven Surveyor missions; five were successful. Surveyors 2 and 4 failed. Each consisted of a single unmanned spacecraft designed and built by Hughes Aircraft Company. The current condition and location of Surveyor 2 is unknown.

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