SMART-1 is the first European mission to the Moon. Launched on 27 September 2003 by an Ariane 5 from the CSG, the European space port at Kourou in French Guiana, the probe reached its objective in 2004 after a long spiral voyage around the Earth.
During its voyage the probe successfully tested all the innovating space technology it had on board. The mission's technological demonstration programme ended when SMART-1 reached the Moon and was captured by its gravitational field in mid-November 2004.
It was placed in an elliptical orbit around the lunar poles at a distance varying from 500 to 3000 km and began its scientific observations in March 2005. For this it was equipped with a miniaturised camera (AMIE), an X-ray telescope (D-CIXS) to identify the key chemical elements on the surface of the Moon, an infrared spectrometer (SIR) to map the lunar minerals and an X-ray solar monitor (XSM) to complete the measurements made by the D-CIXS and to study solar variability.
SMART-1 was a small automatic 366 kg satellite measuring almost 1 m3, not counting its 14 m span solar panels. It was built by the Swedish Space Corporation (Solna, Sweden) which led a consortium of more than 20 European industrial teams.
It hit the Moon on 3 September at 05h42min22s UT, in an impact planned by scientists to end a brilliant mission.