Pioneer P-3


Spacecraft n°: 55

USA satellite n°: 44

Also called: Able 4B - 13th to the Moon

Launch data:

Designation  F00078 / 59F10
Launch date 26 Nov 1959 - 7:26 UT
Launch site CC, LC-14
Launch vehicle Atlas-D Able (#D20)
Mission Lunar orbiter
Decay  26 Nov 1959

Failed lunar flyby USA

Spacecraft data:

Prime contractor  TRW
Operator  NASA
Mass at launch 168 kg
Dry Mass   kg
Basic shape  sphere
Dimension  1 m dia, long 1.4 m
Propulsion  Hydrazine thruster
Equipment  see Pioneer P1


Mission details:

Launch Failure

P-3 was launched on an Atlas-D Able. The plastic payload shroud broke away 45 seconds after launch, subjecting the payload and third stage rocket to critical aerodynamic loads. At T+104 seconds after launch communications with the upper stages was lost and the payload was stripped off followed by the third stage. Telemetry indicated the first and second stages continued as programmed.

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