NASA's Surveyor Model SD-1 was a test flight to rehearse for a U.S. mission to the Moon. An engine shutdown early causing the spacecraft to fall back to the launch pad and explode.
March 2, 1965: Launch
March 2, 1965: Spacecraft destroyed
This mission was designed to rehearse a complete Atlas Centaur 5 upper stage burn in support of NASA's Surveyor lunar lander program. During an actual mission, the Centaur would boost its payload on a direct ascent trajectory to the Moon.
On this test flight, NASA planned to deliver the payload, a non-functioning model known as SD-1, into an orbit of about 104 x 575,800 miles (167 x 926,625 kilometers) that simulated a lunar transfer trajectory.
Less than 2 seconds after liftoff at 13:25 UT March 2, 1965, a faulty valve that incorrectly closed caused both Atlas main engines to shut down. As a result, the booster fell back onto the pad and exploded.