Ranger spacecraft with solar panels folded, 1964-1965.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model made by Rod Smith in the workshops of the Science Museum, London in 1975. Ranger was the first of three American programmes of unmanned probes sent to map and explore the Moon in preparation for the Apollo landings. The probes were designed to fly towards the lunar surface and transmit images back to Earth right up until impact. After early failures three Ranger spacecraft took close-up pictures of the Moon before crashing into its surface during 1964 and 1965.