Space History Photo: The Ranger Spacecraft
The Ranger fleet of spacecraft were launched into orbit in the 1960s and enabled the first live transmissions of the Moon from lunar orbit.
Credit: NASA.

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the Ranger fleet of spacecraft, launched in the mid-sixties, provided for the first time live television transmissions of the Moon from lunar orbit. These transmissions resolved surface features as small as 10 inches across and provided over 17,000 images of the lunar surface.

These detailed photographs allowed scientists and engineers to study the Moon in greater detail than ever before thus allowing for the design of a spacecraft that would one day land men of Earth on its surface.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).