Previous ships called Ranger

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USS Ranger (1777)

The first USS Ranger was a sloop-of-war in the Continental Navy and received the first official salute at sea by a foreign power.

Ranger, initially called Hampshire, was launched 10 May 1777 by James K. Hackett, master shipbuilder, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Capt. John Paul Jones in command.

After fitting out, she sailed for France 1 November 1777, carrying dispatches telling of General Burgoyne's surrender to the Commissioners in Paris. On the voyage over, two British prizes were captured. Ranger arrived at Nantes, France, 2 December, where Jones sold the prizes and delivered the news of the victory at Saratoga to Dr. Franklin. On 14 February 1778, Ranger received the first official salute to the new American flag, the "Stars and Stripes," given by the French fleet at Quiberon Bay. Ranger sailed from Brest 10 April 1778, for the Irish Sea and 4 days later captured a prize between the Scilly Isles and Cape Clear. On 17 April, she took another prize and sent her back to France. Captain Jones led a daring raid on the British port of Whitehaven, 23 April, spiking the guns of the fortress, and burning the ships in the harbor. Sailing across the bay to St. Mary's Isle, Scotland, the American captain planned to seize the Earl of Selkirk and hold him as a hostage to obtain better treatment for American prisoners of war. However, since the Earl was absent, the plan failed. Several cruisers were searching for Ranger, and Captain Jones sailed across North Channel to Carrickfergus, Ireland, to induce HMS Drake, 20 guns, to come out and fight. Drake came out slowly against the wind and tide, and, after an hour's battle, the battered Drake struck her colors, with two Americans and 40 British killed in the combat. Having made temporary repairs, and with a prize crew on Drake, Ranger continued around the west coast of Ireland, capturing a stores ship, and arrived at Brest with her prizes 8 May.

Captain Jones was detached to command Bonhomme Richard, leaving Lieutenant Simpson, his first officer, in command. Ranger departed Brest 21 August, reaching Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 15 October, in company with Providence and Boston, plus three prizes taken in the Atlantic.

The sloop departed Portsmouth 24 February 1779 joining with the Continental Navy ships Queen of France and Warren in preying on British shipping in the North Atlantic. Seven prizes were captured early in April, and brought safely into port for sale. On 18 June, Ranger was underway again with Providence and Queen of France, capturing two Jamaicamen in July and nine more vessels off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Of the 11 prizes, three were recaptured, but the remaining eight, with their cargoes, were worth over a million dollars when sold in Boston.

Underway 23 November, Ranger was ordered to Commodore Whipple's squadron, arriving Charleston 23 December, to support the garrison there under siege by the British. On 24 January 1780, Ranger and Providence, in a short cruise down the coast captured three transports, loaded with supplies, near Tybee, Georgia. The British assault force was also discovered in the area. Ranger and Providence sailed back to Charleston with the news. Shortly afterwards the British commenced the final push. Although the channel and harbor configuration made naval operations and support difficult, Ranger took a station in the Cooper River, and was captured when the city fell 11 May 1780. Ranger was taken into the British Navy and commissioned under the name Halifax.


USS Ranger (1814-16)

The second Ranger was a schooner mounting a single 18-pounder gun, purchased in 1814 and sold in 1816


USS Ranger (1814-21)

The third Ranger was a 14-gun brig also purchased in 1814 for operations on Lake Ontario, and sold in 1821.


USS Ranger (1876)

The fourth Ranger was an iron vessel mounting four guns, commissioned in 1876, converted to a nautical school ship in 1908, and broken up in 1940.


USS Ranger (1917)

The fifth Ranger was a steel yacht commissioned in 1917 and stricken 1918, subsequently serving in the Coast Guard.


USS Ranger (1918)

The sixth Ranger was a minesweeper built in 1882 and commissioned 11 September 1918, and used in coastal defense until returned to her owner 10 January 1919.


USS Ranger (CV-4)(1934)

The sixth USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first ship of the United States Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier.

She was laid down 26 September 1931 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, launched 25 February 1933, sponsored by Lou Henry Hoover (wife of the President of the United States), and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard 4 June 1934, Captain Arthur L. Bristol in command.

Ranger conducted her first air operations off Cape Henry 6 August 1934 and departed Norfolk the 17th for a shakedown training cruise that took her to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo. She returned to Norfolk 4 October for operations off the Virginia Capes until 28 March 1935, when she sailed for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal on 7 April, she arrived San Diego on the 15th. For nearly 4 years she participated in fleet problems reaching to Hawaii, and in western seaboard operations that took her as far south as Callao, Peru, and as far north as Seattle, Washington. On 4 January 1939, she departed San Diego for winter fleet operations in the Caribbean out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She then steamed north to Norfolk, arriving 18 April.

Ranger cruised along the eastern seaboard out of Norfolk and into the Caribbean Sea. In the fall of 1939, she commenced Neutrality Patrol operations, operating out of Bermuda along the trade routes of the middle Atlantic and up the eastern seaboard up to Argentia, Newfoundland. She was returning to Norfolk from an ocean patrol extending to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Arriving Norfolk 8 December, she sailed on the 21st for patrol in the South Atlantic. She then entered the Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs 22 March 1942.

Ranger served as flagship of Rear Admiral A. B. Cook, Commander, Carriers, Atlantic Fleet, until 6 April 1942, when he was relieved by Rear Adm. Ernest D. McWhorter, who also broke his flag in Ranger.

Steaming to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, Ranger loaded 68 Army P-40 planes and men of the Army's 33rd Pursuit Squadron, put to sea 22 April, and launched the Army squadron 10 May to land at Accra, on the Gold Coast of Africa. She returned to Quonset Point 28 May 1942, made a patrol to Argentia, then stood out of Newport 1 July with another 72 Army P-40s, which she launched off the coast of Africa for Accra the 19th. After calling at Trinidad, she returned to Norfolk for local battle practice until 1 October, then based her training at Bermuda in company with four Sangamon-class escort aircraft carriers that had been newly converted from tankers to meet the need for naval air power in the Atlantic.

The only large carrier in the Atlantic Fleet, Ranger led the task force comprising herself and four escort carriers that provided air superiority during the amphibious invasion of German dominated French Morocco which commenced the morning of 8 November 1942.

It was still dark at 0615 that day, when Ranger, stationed 30 miles northwest of Casablanca, began launching her aircraft to support the landings made at three points on the Atlantic coast of North Africa. Nine of her F4F Wildcats attacked the Rabat and Rabat-Sale airdromes, headquarters of the French air forces in Morocco. Without loss to themselves, they destroyed seven planes on one field, and 14 bombers on the other. Another flight destroyed seven planes on the Port Lyautey field. Some of Ranger's planes strafed four French destroyers in Casablanca Harbor while others strafed and bombed nearby batteries.

The carrier launched 496 combat sorties in the 3-day operation. Her attack aircraft scored two direct bomb hits on the French destroyer leader Albatros, completely wrecking her forward half and causing 300 casualties. They also attacked French cruiser Primaugut as she sortied from Casablanca Harbor, dropped depth charges within lethal distance of two submarines, and knocked out coastal defense and anti-aircraft batteries. They destroyed more than 70 enemy planes on the ground and shot down 15 in aerial combat. But 16 planes from Ranger were lost or damaged beyond repair. It was estimated that 21 light enemy tanks were immobilized and some 86 military vehicles destroyed - most of them troop-carrying trucks.

Casablanca capitulated to the American invaders 11 November 1942 and Ranger departed the Moroccan coast 12 November, returning to Norfolk, on the 23rd.

Following training in Chesapeake Bay, the carrier underwent overhaul in the Norfolk Navy Yard from 16 December 1942 to 7 February 1943. She next transported 75 P-40-L Army pursuit planes to Africa, arriving Casablanca on 23 February; then patrolled and trained pilots along the New England coast steaming as far north as Halifax, Nova Scotia. Departing Halifax 11 August, she joined the British Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland, 19 August, and patrolled the approaches to the British Isles.

Ranger departed Scapa Flow with the Home Fleet 2 October to attack German shipping in Norwegian waters. The objective of the force was the Norwegian port of Bod�?¶. The task force reached launch position off Vestfjord before dawn 4 October completely undetected. At 0618, Ranger launched 20 SBD Dauntless dive bombers and an escort of eight Wildcat fighters. One division of dive bombers attacked the 8,000-ton freighter LaPlata, while the rest continued north to attack a small German convoy. They severely damaged a 10,000-ton tanker and a smaller troop transport. They also sank two of four small German merchantmen in the Bod�?¶ roadstead.

A second Ranger attack group of 10 TBF Avengers and six Wildcats destroyed a German freighter and a small coaster and bombed yet another troop-laden transport. Three Ranger planes were lost to antiaircraft fire. On the afternoon of 4 October, Ranger was finally located by three German aircraft, but her combat air patrol shot down two of the enemy planes and chased off the third.

Ranger returned to Scapa Flow 6 October 1943. She patrolled with the British Second Battle Squadron in waters reaching to Iceland, and then departed Hvalfjord on 26 November, arriving Boston 4 December. On 3 January 1944, she became a training carrier out of Quonset Point, Rhode Island. This duty was interrupted 20 April when she arrived at Staten Island, New York, to load 76 P-38 Lightning fighter planes together with Army, Navy, and French Naval personnel for transport to Casablanca. Sailing 24 April, she arrived Casablanca 4 May. There she onloaded Army aircraft destined for stateside repairs and embarked military passengers for the return to New York.

Touching at New York 16 May, Ranger then entered the Norfolk Navy Yard to have her flight deck strengthened and for installation of a new type catapult, radar, and associated gear that provided her with a capacity for night fighter interceptor training. On 11 July 1944 she departed Norfolk transited the Panama Canal 5 days later, and embarked several hundred Army passengers at Balboa for transportation to San Diego, arriving there 25 July.

After embarking the men and aircraft of Night Fighting Squadron 102 and nearly a thousand marines, she sailed for Hawaiian waters 28 July, reaching Pearl Harbor 3 August. During the next 3 months she conducted night carrier training operations out of Pearl Harbor.

Ranger departed Pearl Harbor 18 October to train pilots for combat duty. Operating out of San Diego under Commander, Fleet Air, Alameda, she continued training air groups and squadrons along the California coast throughout the remainder of the war.

Departing San Diego 30 September 1945, she embarked civilian and military passengers at Balboa and then steamed for New Orleans, Louisiana, arriving 18 October. Following Navy Day celebrations there, she sailed 30 October for brief operations at Pensacola, Florida. After calling at Norfolk, she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 18 November for overhaul. She remained on the eastern seaboard until decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 18 October 1946. Struck from the Naval Vessel Register 29 October 1946, she was sold for scrap to Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania, 28 January 1947.

Ranger received two battle stars for World War II service.


USS Ranger (CVA-61)(1957)

The seventh USS Ranger (CVA-61) (later CV-61) was a United States Navy Forrestal-class supercarrier. She was the first aircraft carrier in the world to be laid down as an angled-deck ship.

She was laid down 2 August 1954 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, launched 29 September 1956, sponsored by Mrs. Arthur Radford (wife of Admiral Radford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 10 August 1957, Captain Charles T. Booth II in command.

Ranger joined the Atlantic Fleet 3 October 1957. Just prior to sailing 4 October for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for shakedown, she received the men and planes of Attack Squadron 85. She conducted air operations, individual ship exercises, and final acceptance trials along the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean Sea until 20 June 1958. She then departed Norfolk, Virginia, with 200 Naval Reserve officer candidates for a 2-month cruise that took the carrier around Cape Horn. She arrived at her new homeport, Alameda, California, on 20 August and joined the Pacific Fleet.

The carrier spent the remainder of 1958 in pilot qualification training for Air Group 14 and fleet exercises along the California coast. Departing 3 January 1959 for final training in Hawaiian waters until 17 February, she next sailed as the flagship of Rear Admiral H. H. Caldwell, ComCarDiv 2, to join the 7th Fleet. Air operations off Okinawa were followed by maneuvers with SEATO naval units out of Subic Bay. A special weapons warfare exercise and a patrol along the southern seaboard of Japan followed. During this first WestPac deployment, Ranger launched more than 7,000 sorties in support of 7th Fleet operations. She returned to San Francisco Bay 27 July.

During the next 6 months, Ranger kept herself in a high state of readiness through participation in exercises and coastal fleet operations. With Carrier Air Group 9 embarked, she departed Alameda 6 February 1960 for a second WestPac deployment and returned to Alameda 30 August. From 11 August 1961 through 8 March 1962, Ranger deployed to the Far East a third time.

The next 7 months were filled with intensive training along the western seaboard in preparation for operations in the troubled waters of Southeast Asia. Ranger departed Alameda on 9 November for brief operations off Hawaii, thence proceeded, via Okinawa, to the Philippines. She steamed to the South China Sea 1 May 1963 to support possible Laotian operations. When the political situation in Laos relaxed 4 May, she resumed her operations schedule with the 7th Fleet. Arriving at Alameda from the Far East 14 June 1963, she underwent overhaul in the San Francisco Naval Shipyard 7 August 1963 through 10 February 1964. Refresher training out of Alameda commenced 25 March, interrupted by an operational cruise to Hawaii from 19 June to 10 July.

Ranger again sailed for the Far East 6 August 1964. This deployment came on the heels of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Ranger made only an 8-hour stop in Pearl Harbor 10 August, then hurried on to Subic Bay, thence to Yokosuka, Japan. In the latter port on 17 October 1964, she became flagship of Rear Admiral Miller who commanded Fast Carrier Task Force 77. In the following months, she helped the 7th Fleet continue its role of steady watchfulness to keep open the sea lanes for the Allies and stop Communist infiltration by sea.

General William Westmoreland, commanding the Military Advisory Command in Vietnam, visited Ranger on 9 March 1965 to confer with Rear Admiral Miller. Ranger continued air strikes on enemy inland targets until 13 April when a fuel line broke, ignited and engulfed her No. 1 main machinery room in flames. The fire was extinguished in little over an hour. There was one fatality. She put into Subic Bay 15 April and sailed on the 20th for Alameda, arriving home on 6 May. She entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard 13 May and remained there under overhaul until 30 September.

Following refresher training, Ranger departed Alameda on 10 December 1965 to rejoin the 7th Fleet. She and her embarked Carrier Air Wing 14 received the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service during combat operations in Southeast Asia from 10 January to 6 August 1966.

Ranger departed the Gulf of Tonkin 6 August for Subic Bay, thence steamed via Yokosuka for Alameda, arriving on the 25th. She stood out of San Francisco Bay 28 September and entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 2 days later for overhaul. The carrier departed Puget Sound 30 May 1967 for training out of San Diego and Alameda. On 21 July 1967, she logged her 88,000th carrier landing.

From June until November, Ranger underwent a long and intensive period of training designed to make her fully combat ready. Attack Carrier Air Wing 2 (CVW-2) embarked on 15 September 1967, with the new Corsair II jet attack plane and the UH-2 C Seasprite turboprop rescue helicopter, making Ranger the first carrier to deploy with these powerful new aircraft. From carrier refresher training for CVW-2, Ranger proceeded to fleet exercise "Moon Festival." From 9 to 16 October, the carrier and her air wing participated in every aspect of a major fleet combat operation.

Her efficiency honed to a fine edge, Ranger departed Alameda 4 November 1967 for WestPac. Arriving Yokosuka 21 November, she relieved Constellation and sailed for the Philippines on the 24th. After arriving at Subic Bay on 29 November, she made final preparations for combat operations in the Tonkin Gulf. Commander, Carrier Division 3, embarked on 30 November as Commander, TG 77.7; and Ranger departed Subic Bay on 1 December for Yankee Station.

Arriving on station 3 December 1967, Ranger commenced another period of sustained combat operations against North Vietnam. During the next 5 months, her planes hit a wide variety of targets, including ferries, bridges, airfields and military installations. Truck parks, rail facilities, antiaircraft guns and SAM sites were also treated to doses of Air Wing 2's firepower. Bob Hope's "Christmas Show" came to Ranger in Tonkin Gulf on 21 December. Another welcome break in the intense pace of operations came with a call at Yokosuka during the first week of April. Returning to Yankee Station on 11 April, Ranger again struck objectives in North Vietnam.

After 5 months of intensive operations, Ranger called at Hong Kong 5 May 1968 and then steamed for home. There followed a shipyard availability at Puget Sound that ended with Ranger's departure 29 July for San Francisco. Three months of leave, upkeep and training culminated in another WestPac deployment 26 October 1968 through 17 May 1969. She departed Alameda on yet another WestPac deployment in December 1969 and remained so employed until 18 May 1970 at which time she returned to Alameda, arriving 1 June.

Ranger spent the rest of the summer engaged in operations off the west coast, departing for her sixth WestPac cruise 27 September 1970. On 10 March 1971, Ranger, along with Kitty Hawk (CV-63), set a record of 233 strike sorties for one day in action against North Vietnam. During April, the three carriers assigned to Task Force 77 ���?? Ranger, Kitty Hawk, and Hancock ���?? provided a constant two-carrier posture on Yankee Station. Hours of employment remained unchanged with one carrier on daylight hours and one on the noon to midnight schedule. Strike emphasis was placed on the interdiction of major Laotian entry corridors to South Vietnam. She returned to Alameda 7 June 1971 and remained in port for the rest of 1971 and the first five months of 1972 undergoing regular overhaul.

On 27 May 1972 she returned to West Coast operation until 16 November, when she embarked upon her seventh WestPac deployment. On 18 December 1972 Linebacker II operations were initiated when negotiations in the Paris peace talks stalemated. Participating carriers were Ranger, Enterprise (CVN-65), Saratoga (CV-60), Oriskany (CV-34), and America (CV-66).

The Linebacker II operations ended on 29 December when the North Vietnamese returned to the peace table. These operations involved the resumed bombing of North Vietnam above the 20th parallel and was an intensified version of Linebacker I. The reseeding of the mine fields was resumed and concentrated strikes were carried out against surface-to-air missile and antiaircraft artillery sites, enemy army barracks, petroleum storage areas, Haiphong naval and shipyard areas, and railroad and truck stations. Navy tactical air attack sorties under Linebacker II were centered in the coastal areas around Hanoi and Haiphong. There were 505 Navy sorties in this area during Linebacker II. Between 18 and 22 December the Navy conducted 119 Linebacker II strikes in North Vietnam. Bad weather was the main limiting factor on the number of tactical air strikes flown during Linebacker II.

On 27 January 1973, the Vietnam cease-fire, announced four days earlier, came into effect and Oriskany, America, Enterprise, and Ranger, on Yankee Station, cancelled all combat sorties into North and South Vietnam.

Ranger returned to Alameda in August 1973 and remained in that area through 7 May 1974 when she deployed again to the western Pacific, returning to homeport on 18 October. On 28 May 1976, while on deployment, helicopters crews from HS-4 aboard Ranger, detachments from HC-3 on Camden (AOE-2), Mars (AFS-1) and White Plains (AFS-4), and helicopters from NAS Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines, assisted in Philippine disaster relief efforts in the flood ravaged areas of central Luzon. Over 1,900 people were evacuated; more than 370,000 pounds of relief supplies and 9,340 gallons of fuel were provided by Navy and Air Force helicopters.

On 12 July 1976, Ranger and her escort ships of Task Force 77.7 entered the Indian Ocean and were assigned to operate off the coast of Kenya in response to a threat of military action in Kenya by Ugandan forces.

Ranger entered the history books on 21 March 1983 when an all-woman flight crew flying a C-1A Trader from VRC-40 "Truckin' Traders" landed aboard the carrier. The aircraft was commanded by Lt. Elizabeth M. Toedt and the crew included Lt.(j.g.) Cheryl A. Martin, Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Gina Greterman and Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Robin Banks.

Later that year, on 1 November 1983 a fire broke out in the number 2 auxiliary machinery room while the Ranger was deployed in the North Arabian Sea, east of Oman. Six crewmen were killed as a result of the fire, which knocked out three of the ship's four engines. Flight operations had not yet commenced when the ship went to general quarters, so no aircraft were yet in the air. This was fortunate because the ship was then out of range of land. Some repairs were effected at sea, but by the time the ship returned to the Philippines after nearly three more months had elapsed at sea, one screw was still unavailable.

On 24 July 1987, Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron 131 (VAQ 131) began the first Pacific Fleet deployment of the EA-6B Prowler equipped with AGM-88 HARM missiles, deployed in Ranger.

On 3 August 1989, Ranger rescued 39 Vietnamese refugees, adrift for 10 days on a barge in heavy seas and monsoon rains in the South China Sea, about 80 miles (130 km) from NAS Cubi Point, R.P. SH-3s Sea Kings from HS-14 assisted. An A-6 Intruder from VA-145 spotted the barge, which had apparently broken loose from its mooring near a small island off the coast of Vietnam with 10 men on board. Twenty-nine other refugees from a sinking refugee boat climbed aboard the barge when it drifted out to sea. After examination by medical personnel, all were flown to NAS Cubi Point for further processing.

President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation on 16 January 1991 at 9 p.m. EST and announced that the libration of Kuwait from Iraq, Operation Desert Storm, had begun. The Navy launched 228 sorties from Ranger and Midway (CV-41) in the Persian Gulf, from Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) enroute to the Persian Gulf, and from John F. Kennedy (CV-67), Saratoga, and America in the Red Sea. In addition, the Navy launched more than 100 Tomahawk missiles from nine ships in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf.

On 6 February 1991, an F-14A Tomcat from VF-1, off Ranger, piloted by Lt. Stuart Broce, with Cmdr. Ron McElraft as Radar Intercept Officer, downed an Iraqi Mi-8 Hip helicopter with an AIM-9M Sidewinder missile. At 9 p.m. EST on 27 February, President Bush declared Kuwait had been liberated and Operation Desert Storm would end at midnight.

On 21 April 1992, in harmony with other World War II 50th Anniversary festivities, Ranger participated in the commemorative re-enactment of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, Japan. Two World War II-era B-25 bombers were craned on board and over 1,500 guests (including national, local and military media) were embarked to witness the two vintage warbirds thunder down Ranger's flight deck and take off. In June, Ranger made an historic port visit to Vancouver, British Columbia in conjunction with her final phase of pre-deployment workups.

Fully combat ready, Ranger began her 21st and final western Pacific and Indian Ocean deployment on 1 August 1992. On 18 August, she entered Yokosuka, Japan, for a six-day port visit and upkeep. Ranger entered the Persian Gulf on 14 September by transiting the Straits of Hormuz. The next day, Ranger relieved Independence (CV-62) in an unusual close aboard ceremony and along with her embarked Air Wing, Carrier Air Wing 2, immediately began flying patrol missions in support of the United Kingdom and United States' declared "No Fly" zone in southern Iraq: Operation Southern Watch.

While in the Persian Gulf, former Cold War adversaries became at-sea partners as Ranger, British, and French naval forces joined with the Russian guided missile destroyer Admiral Vinogradov for an exercise involving communication, maneuvering and signaling drills. During joint operations, a Russian Kamov Ka-27 "Helix" helicopter landed aboard Ranger. It was the first such landing on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

Ranger left the Persian Gulf on 4 December 1992 and steamed at high speed to the coast of Somalia. Ranger played a significant role in the massive relief effort for starving Somalis in Operation Restore Hope. The Ranger/CVW-2 team provided photo and visual reconnaissance, airborne air traffic control, logistics support and on-call close air support for Navy and Marine amphibious forces. Throughout Operations Southern Watch and Restore Hope, Ranger took 63 digital photographs which were sent by International Marine Satellite to the Navy Office of Information within hours of being taken. This was the first time digital pictures were successfully transmitted from a ship at sea.

On 19 December 1992, Ranger was relieved on station by Kitty Hawk and began her last long journey homeward to San Diego.

Ranger was decommissioned on 10 July 1993, and is at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, Washington. As of 2004, an effort is underway to establish her as a museum ship.

Ranger earned 13 battle stars for service in Vietnam.

NOTE: Star Trek IV interior scenes on the USS Enterprise CVN-65 were actually filmed onboard the Ranger.


Ranger 1 (23 Aug 1961)

The Ranger 1 spacecraft was designed to go into an Earth parking orbit and then into a 60,000 by 1,100,000 km Earth orbit to test systems and strategies for future lunar missions. Ranger 1 was launched into the Earth parking orbit as planned, but the Agena B failed to restart to put it into the higher trajectory, so when Ranger 1 separated from the Agena stage it went into a low Earth orbit and began tumbling. The satellite re-entered Earth's atmosphere on 30 August 1961. Ranger 1 was partially successful, much of the primary objective of flight testing the equipment was accomplished but little scientific data was returned.


Ranger 2 (18 Nov 1961)

The spacecraft was launched into a low earth parking orbit, but an inoperative roll gyro prevented Agena restart. The spacecraft could not be put into its planned deep-space trajectory, resulting in Ranger 2 being stranded in low earth orbit upon separation from the Agena stage. The orbit decayed and the spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere on 20 November 1961.


Ranger 3 (26 Jan 1962)

The mission was designed to boosted towards the Moon by an Atlas/Agena, undergo one mid-course correction, and impact the lunar surface. At the appropriate altitude the capsule was to separate and the retrorockets ignite to cushion the landing. A malfunction in the booster guidance system resulted in excessive spacecraft speed. Reversed command signals caused the spacecraft to pitch in the wrong direction and the TM antenna to lose earth acquisition, and mid-course correction was not possible. Finally a spurious signal during the terminal maneuver prevented transmission of useful TV pictures. Ranger 3 missed the Moon by approximately 36,800 km on 28 January and is now in a heliocentric orbit. Some useful engineering data were obtained from the flight.

This was the first U.S. attempt to achieve impact on the lunar surface. The Block II Ranger spacecraft carried a TV camera that used an optical telescope that would allow imaging down to about 24 kilometers above the lunar surface during the descent. The main bus also carried a 42.6-kilogram instrument capsule that would separate from the bus at 21.4 kilometers altitude and then independently impact on the Moon. Protected by a balsa-wood outer casing, the capsule was designed to bounce several times on the lunar surface before coming to rest. The primary onboard instrument was a seismometer. Because of a malfunction in the Atlas guidance system (due to faulty transistors), the probe was inserted into a lunar transfer trajectory with an excessive velocity. A subsequent incorrect course change ensured that the spacecraft reached the Moon 14 hours early and missed it by 36,793 kilometers on 28 January. The central computer and sequencer failed and the spacecraft returned no TV images. The probe did, however, provide scientists with the first measurements of interplanetary gamma-ray flux. Ranger 3 eventually entered heliocentric orbit.


Ranger 4 (23 April 1962)

The mission was designed to boosted towards the Moon by an Atlas/Agena, undergo one mid-course correction, and impact the lunar surface. At the appropriate altitude the capsule was to separate and the retrorockets ignite to cushion the landing. Due to an apparent failure of a timer in the spacecraft's central computer and sequencer following launch the command signals for the extension of the solar panels and the operation of the sun and earth acquisition system were never given. The instrumentation ceased operation after about 10 hours of flight. The spacecraft was tracked by the battery-powered 50 milliwatt transmitter in the lunar landing capsule. Ranger 4 impacted the far side of the Moon (229.3 degrees E, 15.5 degrees S) at 9600 km/h at 12:49:53 UT on 26 April 1962 after 64 hours of flight.

This spacecraft, similar in design to Ranger 3, was the first U.S. spacecraft to reach another celestial body. A power failure in the central computer and sequencer stopped the spacecraftâ�?��?�s master clock and prevented the vehicle from performing any of its preplanned operations, such as opening its solar panels. Drifting aimlessly and without any midcourse corrections, Ranger 4 impacted the Moon on its far side at 12:49:53 UT on 26 April 1962. Impact coordinates were 15�?°30' south latitude and 130�?°42' west longitude. Although the spacecraft did not achieve its primary objective, the Atlas-Agena-Ranger combination performed without fault for the first time.


Ranger 5 (18 Oct 1962)

The mission was designed to boosted towards the Moon by an Atlas/Agena, undergo one mid-course correction, and impact the lunar surface. At the appropriate altitude the capsule was to separate and the retrorockets ignite to cushion the landing. Due to an unknown malfunction after injection into lunar trajectory from Earth parking orbit, the spacecraft failed to receive power. The batteries ran down after 8 hours, 44 minutes, rendering the spacecraft inoperable. Ranger 5 missed the Moon by 725 km. It is now in a heliocentric orbit. Gamma-ray data were collected for 4 hours prior to the loss of power. Ranger 5 ended up in heliocentric (sun-centered) orbit. Mission controllers tracked it to a distance of 1.3 million km (808,000) miles. Scientists did get back about four hours of data from a gamma ray experiment aboard the spacecraft.

This was the third attempt to impact the lunar surface with a Block II Ranger spacecraft. On this mission, just 15 minutes after normal operation, a malfunction led to the transfer of power from solar to battery power. Normal operation never resumed; battery power was depleted after 8 hours, and all spacecraft systems died. The first midcourse correction was never implemented, and Ranger 5 passed the Moon at a range of 724 kilometers on 21 October and entered heliocentric orbit. It was tracked to a distance of 1,271,381 kilometers. Before loss of signal, the spacecraft sent back about 4 hours of data from the gamma-ray experiment.


Ranger 6 (30 Jan 1964)

Ranger 6 was launched into an Earth parking orbit and injected on a lunar trajectory by a second Agena burn. The midcourse trajectory correction was accomplished early in the flight by ground control. On February 2, 1964, 65.5 hours after launch, Ranger 6 impacted the Moon on the eastern edge of Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility). The orientation of the spacecraft to the surface during descent was correct, but no video signal was received and no camera data obtained. A review board determined the most likely cause of failure was due to an arc-over in the TV power system when it inadvertently turned on for 67 seconds approximately 2 minutes after launch during the period of booster-engine separation.

This fourth American attempt at lunar impact was the closest success. The spacecraft, the first Block III type vehicle with a suite of six TV cameras, was sterilized to avoid contaminating the lunar surface. The series would also serve as a test bed for future interplanetary spacecraft by deploying systems (such as solar panels) that could be used for more ambitious missions. The Block III spacecraft carried a 173-kilogram TV unit (replacing the impact capsule carried on the Block II Ranger spacecraft). The six cameras included two full-scan and four partial-scan cameras. Ranger 6 flew to the Moon successfully and impacted precisely on schedule at 09:24:32 UT on 2 February. Unfortunately, the power supply for the TV camera package had short-circuited three days previously during Atlas booster separation and left the system inoperable. The cameras were to have transmitted high-resolution photos of the lunar approach from 1,448 kilometers to 6.4 kilometers range in support of Project Apollo. Impact coordinates were 9�?°24' north latitude and 21�?°30' east longitude.


Ranger 7 (28 Jul 1964)

The Atlas 250D and Agena B 6009 boosters performed nominally at launch inserting the Agena and Ranger into a 192 km altitude Earth parking orbit. Half an hour after launch the second burn of the Agena engine injected the spacecraft into a lunar intercept trajectory. After separation from the Agena, the solar panels were deployed, attitude control activated, and spacecraft transmissions switched from the omniantenna to the high-gain antenna. The next day, 29 July, the planned mid-course maneuver was initiated at 10:27 UT, involving a short rocket burn. The only anomaly during flight was a brief loss of two-way lock on the spacecraft by the DSIF tracking station at Cape Kennedy following launch.

Ranger 7 reached the Moon on 31 July. The F-channel began its one minute warm up 18 minutes before impact. The first image was taken at 13:08:45 UT at an altitude of 2110 km. Transmission of 4,308 photographs of excellent quality occurred over the final 17 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.5 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface in direct motion along a hyperbolic trajectory, with an incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -5.57 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 26.84 degrees to the lunar equator. After 68.6 hours of flight, Ranger 7 impacted in an area between Mare Nubium and Oceanus Procellarum (subsequently named Mare Cognitum) at approximately 10.35 S latitude, 339.42 E longitude. (The impact site is listed as 10.63 S, 339.34 E in the initial report "Ranger 7 Photographs of the Moon".) Impact occurred at 13:25:48.82 UT at a velocity of 2.62 km/s. The spacecraft performance was excellent.


Ranger 8 (17 Feb 1965)

The Atlas 196D and Agena B 6006 boosters performed nominally, injecting the Agena and Ranger 8 into an Earth parking orbit at 185 km altitude 7 minutes after launch. Fourteen minutes later a 90 second burn of the Agena put the spacecraft into lunar transfer trajectory, and several minutes later the Ranger and Agena separated. The Ranger solar panels were deployed, attitude control activated, and spacecraft transmissions switched from the omniantenna to the high-gain antenna by 21:30 UT. On 18 February at a distance of 160,000 km from Earth the planned mid-course maneuver took place, involving reorientation and a 59 second rocket burn. During the 27 minute maneuver, spacecraft transmitter power dropped severely, so that lock was lost on all telemetry channels. This continued intermittently until the rocket burn, at which time power returned to normal. The telemetry dropout had no serious effects on the mission. A planned terminal sequence to point the cameras more in the direction of flight just before reaching the Moon was cancelled to allow the cameras to cover a greater area of the Moon's surface.

Ranger 8 reached the Moon on 20 February 1965. The first image was taken at 9:34:32 UT at an altitude of 2510 km. Transmission of 7,137 photographs of good quality occurred over the final 23 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 1.5 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface in a direct hyperbolic trajectory, with incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -13.6 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 16.5 degrees to the lunar equator. After 64.9 hours of flight, impact occurred at 09:57:36.756 UT on 20 February 1965 in Mare Tranquillitatis at approximately 2.67 degrees N, 24.65 degrees E. (The impact site is listed as about 2.72 N, 24.61 E in the initial report "Ranger 8 Photographs of the Moon".) Impact velocity was slightly less than 2.68 km/s. The spacecraft performance was excellent.


Ranger 9 (21 Mar 1965)

The Atlas 204D and Agena B 6007 boosters performed nominally, injecting the Agena and Ranger 9 into an Earth parking orbit at 185 km altitude. A 90 second Agena 2nd burn put the spacecraft into lunar transfer trajectory. This was followed by the separation of the Agena and Ranger. 70 minutes after launch the command was given to deploy solar panels, activate attitude control, and switch from the omniantenna to the high-gain antenna. The accuracy of the initial trajectory enabled delay of the planned mid-course correction from 22 March to 23 March when the maneuver was initiated at 12:03 UT. After orientation, a 31 second rocket burn at 12:30 UT, and reorientation, the maneuver was completed at 13:30 UT.

Ranger 9 reached the Moon on 24 March 1965. At 13:31 UT a terminal maneuver was executed to orient the spacecraft so the cameras were more in line with the flight direction to improve the resolution of the pictures. Twenty minutes before impact the one-minute camera system warm-up began. The first image was taken at 13:49:41 at an altitude of 2363 km. Transmission of 5,814 good contrast photographs was made during the final 19 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.3 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface with an incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -5.6 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 15.6 degrees to the lunar equator. After 64.5 hours of flight, impact occurred at 14:08:19.994 UT at approximately 12.83 S latitude, 357.63 E longitude in the crater Alphonsus. Impact velocity was 2.67 km/s. The spacecraft performance was excellent. Real time television coverage with live network broadcasts of many of the F-channel images (primarily camera B but also some camera A pictures) were provided for this flight.

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