Attempting to make the first successful lunar encounter of a Ranger spacecraft, Ranger 5 was launched on October 18, 1962. The spacecraft carried a seismometer which was to land on the surface, as well an altimeter, spectrometer, and television camera. The third and final of the Block II Ranger spacecraft, the mission was to impact the lunar surface after ejecting a seismometer lander pod.
Shortly after leaving Earth parking orbit, the spacecraft experienced an unknown failure which caused the batteries to drain. Unable to make a mid-course correction burn, Ranger 5 went into heliocentric orbit, and was tracked by scientists on the ground up to a distance of 808,000 miles from Earth.
Ranger 5 was the last of the block II series of Ranger spacecraft, with Ranger’s 6-9 being the final block III configuration, which were more successful than the previous two versions.
Learn more about Ranger 5 here and here.