Surveyor spacecraft
<i>Surveyor 3</i> Landing Site
<i>Surveyor 3</i> Photographed by <i>Apollo 12</i>
Surveyor spacecraft

Surveyor spacecraft

Courtesy of NASA/NSSDC

There were seven Surveyor missions sent to the Moon between 1966 and 1968. Surveyor 1 was the first successful moon landing for the United States. Surveyor 2 and Surveyor 4 crash-landed. Surveyor 3 made three bounces before it finally landed—engine trouble, but useful data was still sent back to Earth. The unmanned Surveyor missions tested soft landings and looked for appropriate landing sites on the Moon before the Apollo manned missions were sent. The spacecraft were equipped with television cameras for close-up photos and digging equipment to sample the soil.

Seven missions between May 30, 1966 and January 7, 1968

Seven missions between June 2, 1966 and January 10, 1968

End of Mission
Seven missions between September 22, 1966 and February 20, 1968

Surveyor was designed to find a way to safely land on the Moon. Take close-up images of the lunar surface and make other observations that would help pinpoint locations for safe Apollo landings.

After three practice missions, five of the seven Surveyor spacecraft made it to the Moon. Those five successful landings electrified the scientific community and sparked worldwide acclaim.