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Kind: Lunar lander

State: Successful

Place: Moon

Operator: NASA



Duration: 37 days (launch to last contact)

Mission Ending

Last Contact: December 14, 1967 (1967-12-15), last useful data November 24


Rocket: Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D

Kind: NASA

Manufacturer: Hughes Aircraft

Mass: 1,006 kilograms (2,218 lb)

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral LC-36B


"Requesting permission for flyby." Maverick - Top Gun


"You’re going very fast when you’re on orbit, going around the world once every hour and a half." - Robert Crippen


Place: Lunar

Region: 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) west of original landing site

Date: November 17, 1967

Surveyor 6 was the sixth lunar lander of the American uncrewed Surveyor program that reached the surface of the Moon. Surveyor 6 landed on the Sinus Medii. A total of 30,027 images were transmitted to Earth. This spacecraft was the fourth of the Surveyor series to successfully achieve a soft landing on the Moon, obtain post landing television pictures, determine the abundance of the chemical elements in the lunar soil, obtain touchdown dynamics data, obtain thermal and radar reflectivity data, and conduct a Vernier engine erosion experiment. Virtually identical to Surveyor 5, this spacecraft carried a television camera, a small bar magnet attached to one footpad, and an alpha-scattering instrument as well as the necessary engineering equipment. It landed on November 10, 1967, in Sinus Medii, 0.49 deg in latitude and 1.40 deg w longitude (selenographic coordinates)–the center of the Moon's visible hemisphere. The spacecraft accomplished all planned objectives. The successful completion of this mission satisfied the Surveyor program's obligation to the Apollo project. On November 24, 1967, the spacecraft was shut down for the two-week lunar night. Contact was made on December 14, 1967, but no useful data was obtained. Lunar soil surveys were completed using photographic and alpha particle backscattering methods. A similar instrument, the APXS, was used onboard several Mars missions. In a further test of space technology, Surveyor 6's engines were restarted and burned for 2.5 seconds in the first lunar liftoff on November 17 at 10:32 UTC. This created 150 lbf (700 N) of thrust and lifted the vehicle 12 feet (4 m) from the lunar surface. After moving west eight feet, (2.5 m) the spacecraft once again successfully soft landed and continued functioning as designed. Surveyor 6 landed near the crash site of Surveyor 4, which malfunctioned a few months earlier in July 1967.