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astronautix.com Prospector


Class: Planetary. Type: Lunar. Nation: USA.

The Prospector spacecraft was a NASA/JPL unmanned lunar rover of the early 1960's. The spacecraft was to be able to soft-land 1,100 kg of payload with an accuracy of +/-1 kilometer anywhere on the visible side of the moon. A primary payload for Prospector would be an automatic roving vehicle weighing 680 kg which would permit detailed reconnaissance of the lunar surface over a wide area. It was also considered that the lander could deposit landing aids or logistic material in support of a manned lunar landing. Prospector was eventually outpaced by the Apollo manned program. It was probably also an undesirable threat to Apollo - a cheaper unmanned method of accomplishing the same goals (as was done eventually by the Soviet Luna Ye-8 and Lunokhod lander/rovers).


Specification


Prospector Chronology


20 April 1961 Prospector vs Apollo program Program: Apollo.

A conference was held at NASA Headquarters on the relationship between the Prospector and Apollo programs. Representatives of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and STG discussed the possible redirection of Prospector planning to support more directly the manned space program. The Prospector spacecraft was intended to soft-land about 2,500 pounds on the lunar surface with an accuracy of +/-1 kilometer anywhere on the visible side of the moon. An essential feature of Prospector was the development of an automatic roving vehicle weighing about 1500 pounds which would permit detailed reconnaissance of the lunar surface over a wide area. Additional Details: Prospector vs Apollo program.



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Last update 12 March 2001.
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