Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mars M-69



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M-69 Version 2
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Mars probe
Mars probe configuration with double re-entry vehicles believed planned for the cancelled 1969 or 1975 launch series.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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M-69 Version 1
Russian Mars orbiter. 2 launches, 1969.03.27 (M-69 s/n 521) to 1969.04.02 (M-69 s/n 522). Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars.

First Launch: 1969.03.27.
Last Launch: 1969.04.02.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. Development of the Proton began in 1962 as a two-stage vehicle that could be used to launch large military payloads or act as a ballistic missile with a 100 megaton nuclear warhead. The ICBM was cancelled in 1965, but development of a three-stage version for the crash program to send a Soviet man around the moon began in 1964. The hurried development caused severe reliability problems in early production. But these were eventually solved, and from the 1970's the Proton was used to launch all Russian space stations, medium- and geosynchronous orbit satellites, and lunar and planetary probes. More...
  • Proton-K/D Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was originally designed to send manned circumlunar spacecraft into translunar trajectory. Guidance to the Block D stage must be supplied by spacecraft. The design was proposed on 8 September 1965 by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon. The Korolev design was selected, and first flight came on 10 March 1967. The crash lunar program led to a poor launch record. Following a protracted ten year test period, the booster finally reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Lavochkin Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Lavochkin Design Bureau, Moscow, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Mars Soviet Mars probes were intended to photograph Mars on flyby trajectories, followed by Mars orbit, landing, and Phobos reconnaisance missions. Essentially all of the series failed. More...

Bibliography
  • Kaesmann, Ferdinand, et. al., "Proton - Development of A Russian Launch Vehicle", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1998, Volume 51, page 3.
  • "Na Mars!", Novosti Kosmonavtiki, 1996, Issue 20, page 53.
  • Vladimirov, A, "Tablitsa zapuskov RN 'Proton' i 'Proton K'", Novosti kosmonavtiki, 1998, Issue 10, page 25.
  • National Space Science Center Planetary Page, As of 19 February 1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Chertok, Boris Yevseyevich, Raketi i lyudi, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1994-1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Kamanin, N P, Skritiy kosmos, Infortext, Moscow, 1995.
  • Melnik, T G, Voenno-Kosmicheskiy Siliy, Nauka, Moscow, 1997..
  • Siddiqi, Asif A, The Soviet Space Race With Apollo, University Press of Florida, 2003.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Mars M-69 Chronology


1969 January 8 - .
  • Plan for Soviet lunar and planetary launches to answer America's Apollo program during 1969 approved. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Babakin. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8; Lunokhod; Luna Ye-8-5; Soyuz 7K-L1; Venera 2V (V-69); Mars M-69. Summary: Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 19-10 'On Work on Research of the Moon, Venus and Mars by Automatic Stations--work on automated lunar and interplanetary spacecraft' was issued.. Additional Details: here....

1969 March 27 - . 10:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 240-01. FAILURE: T+51s payload shroud failed. Second stage continued but third stage failed to ignite.. Failed Stage: S.
  • M-69 s/n 521 - . Payload: M-69 s/n 521. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-69. Decay Date: 1969-03-27 . COSPAR: F690327A. Summary: Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars, together with a landing probe..

1969 April 2 - . 10:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 233-01. FAILURE: First stage - 1 x RD-253 fire beginning at T+ 0.02 sec, rocket crashed near pad.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • M-69 s/n 522 - . Payload: M-69 s/n 522. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-69. Decay Date: 1969-04-02 . COSPAR: F690402A. Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars, together with a landing probe. Further Mars launches during the 1969 launch window were cancelled when this attempt resulted in a major accident, which almost wiped out all of the leaders of the space industry. The Proton rocket lifted off, but one engine failed. The vehicle flew at an altitude of 50 m horizontally, finally exploding only a short distance from the launch pad, spraying the whole complex with poisonous propellants that were quickly spread by the wind. Everyone took off in their autos to escape, but which direction to go? Finally it was decided that the launch point was the safest, but this proved to be even more dangerous - the second stage was still intact and liable to explode. The contamination was so bad that there was no way to clean up - the only possibility was just to wait for rain to wash it away. This didn't happen until the Mars launch window was closed, so the first such probe was not put into space until 1971. This accident also severely damaged plans to divert attention from America's Apollo programme during the rest of 1969. 10-12 UR-500K launches had been intended to land on the moon lunar soil return and rover robots to supplement the N1 launches.

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