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Space History Photo: The Ranger Spacecraft

space history, nasa, probes
The Ranger fleet of spacecraft were launched into orbit in the 1960s and enabled the first live transmissions of the Moon from lunar orbit. (Image 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).

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NASA Archives
NASA Archives

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: nasa.gov