Forty-five years ago today — June 2, 1966 — Surveyor-1 landed on the moon.
(Surveyor-1 landing site, imaged by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA image.)
As we noted in a previous space history item, Surveyor-1 launched on May 30th. On this date, it became the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the Moon.
Surveyor 1’s first hour on the Moon was spent performing engineering tests. Photography sessions were then initiated throughout the remainder of the lunar day. The television system transmitted pictures of the spacecraft footpad and surrounding lunar terrain and surface materials. Some 10,338 photos were returned prior to nightfall on June 14.