Each month in “Slice of History” we’ll be featuring a historical photo from the JPL Archives. See more historical photos and explore the JPL Archives at https://beacon.jpl.nasa.gov/.
Engineer Ted Metz proudly showed off the Ranger midcourse correction motor in a photo similar to this one that appeared in the May 1965 issue of Lab-Oratory, the JPL employee newsletter. “Since few Lab employees have seen the Ranger and Mariner midcourse propulsion unit, we show here the rocket motor portion of the system held by Propulsion project engineer, Ted Metz. This 50-pound thrust motor utilizes hydrazine fuel and has successfully corrected the trajectories of the Mariner R, Mariner IV and Rangers VI through IX spacecrafts.”
From 1961 to 1965, there were six Ranger flights that failed for various reasons and three very successful ones (Rangers 7, 8, and 9). Mariner R (based on the Ranger spacecraft, also called Mariner 2) had flown by Venus, and Mariner 4 was on the way to Mars.
This post was written for “Historical Photo of the Month,” a blog by Julie Cooper of JPL’s Library and Archives Group.