Pioneer P-1


Pioneer P-1
Pioneer P-1 P-3 P-30 P-31.jpg
The Pioneer P-1 lunar probe
Mission typeLunar orbiter
Mission durationFailed to launch
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerTRW Space Technology Laboratories
Launch mass168 kg (370 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date24 September 1959 (1959-09-24) (pre-launch failure)
RocketAtlas C-Able #9C
Launch siteCape Canaveral, LC-12

Pioneer P-1 was a failed mission in the Pioneer program. The spacecraft was a 1-meter diameter sphere with a propulsion module, and was to carry a TV camera and magnetic field sensor. It was to be spin-stabilized and was known as a 'paddlewheel' spacecraft.

The spacecraft was intended for launch on an Atlas C-Able rocket, but this vehicle was destroyed on 24 September 1959 in an explosion on its launch pad during a pre-launch static firing. The P-1 spacecraft and an Able IV space engine were not present on the launch vehicle when it exploded, and were later used on the Pioneer P-3 mission.[1][2]

The only specimen of the Atlas C-Able rocket, intended to carry Pioneer P-1, prior to an explosion during static firing.


  1. ^ "Pioneer P-1, P-3, P-30, P-31". Gunter's Space Page. 12 November 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Moon Rocket Blows Up in Test". The New York Times. 25 September 1959.

External links

  • Atlas-C Able at Encyclopedia Astronautica
  • Able IV information website
  • Space Technology Laboratories Documents Archive