SMART-1 was carried into Earth orbit on 27 September 2003 as an auxiliary payload on Ariane 5 flight V162. The satellite was used to test solar-electric propulsion and other deep-space technologies, while performing scientific observations of the Moon.
The electric propulsion system was used to raise the apogee (point of furthest excursion from the Earth) of the orbit until lunar capture occurred on 11 November 2004. Once in lunar orbit, the novel propulsion system was used to lower the apolune (point of furthest excursion from the Moon) and circularise the orbit.
Among the scientific investigations, mission data helped to provide answers to questions about the origin of the Moon and to search for ice in the craters at the Moon's south pole. The SMART-1 mission ended on 3 September 2006 when the spacecraft, in a planned manoeuvre, impacted the lunar surface in the Lacus Excellentiae region.