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Mars
Mars probe
Mars probe
Mars probe configuration with double re-entry vehicles believed planned for the cancelled 1969 or 1975 launch series.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Soviet Mars probes were intended to photograph Mars on flyby trajectories, followed by Mars orbit, landing, and Fobos reconnaissance missions. Essentially all of the series failed. American and European probes were more successful, but still suffered a high failure rate.



Country: Russia. Spacecraft: Chandrayaan, MAVEN, Mars 1M, Mars 2MV-4, Mars 2MV-3, Venera 3MV-1A, Venera 3MV-1, Mariner 3-4, Mars 3MV-4A, Mariner 6-7, Mars M-69, MK-700, Mariner 8-9, Mars M-71, Mars M-73, Viking, Fobos 1F, Mars Observer, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars M1, Mars Pathfinder, Nozomi, MCO, DS2 Microprobe, Mars Polar Lander, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, MER, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Phoenix, MSL. Launch Vehicles: Mars tactical rocket, Molniya 8K78, Molniya 8K78M, Proton-K/D, Proton-K/D-2. Launch Sites: Baikonur. Agency: Korolev bureau, RVSN, MOM, UNKS, VKS.
Photo Gallery

Mars 3 spacecraftMars 3 spacecraft
Mars 3 spacecraft Aeroshell is removed to show lander payload.
Credit: © Mark Wade


Fobos HopperFobos Hopper
'Hopper' surface probe that was to have been deployed on the surface of Phobos on the Fobos-1/2 missions
Credit: Andy Salmon


Mars 2 / 3 landerMars 2 / 3 lander
Mars 2 / 3 descent vehicle, cross section through heat shield, showing petals deployed.
Credit: Andy Salmon


Mars 2 / 3 landerMars 2 / 3 lander
Deployable instrument from Mars-2/3
Credit: Andy Salmon



1960 October 10 - . 14:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+300.9 sec, the launcher went out of control and the destruct command was given at T+324.2 sec - the engine of Stage 3 cut off after 13.32 s of burning.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mars probe 1M s/n 1 failure. - . Payload: 1M s/n 1. Mass: 640 kg (1,410 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 1MV. Spacecraft: Mars 1M. Decay Date: 1960-10-10 .

    This was the Soviet Union's first attempt at a planetary probe. Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The possible cause lay in resonance vibrations of upper stages during Stage 2 burning, which led to break of contact in the command potentiometer of the gyrohorizon. As a result a pitch control malfunctioned and the launcher began to veer off the desired ascent profile. On exceeding 7 degrees of veering in pitch, the control system failed. The upper stage with the payload reached an altitude of 120 km before burning up on re-entry into the atmosphere above East Siberia.


1960 October 14 - . 13:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+290 sec Stage 3's engine 8D715K failed to ignite because a LOX leak froze kerosene in the fuel inlet to the pump on the launch pad due to a faulty LOX valve seal.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mars probe 1M s/n 2 failure. - . Payload: 1M s/n 2. Mass: 640 kg (1,410 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 1MV. Spacecraft: Mars 1M. Decay Date: 1960-10-14 . Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. This was the Soviet Union's second attempt at a planetary probe. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere..

1962 October 24 - . 17:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: 16 seconds after ignition of Stage 4, Block L's S1.5400A1 engine exploded. A lubricant leak resulted in the jamming of a shaft in the turbopump gearbox and break up of the turbine.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Sputnik 22 - . Payload: 2MV-4 s/n 3. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-4. Decay Date: 1962-10-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 443 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Iota-1. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi). Perigee: 202 km (125 mi). Inclination: 65.1000 deg. Period: 89.10 min.

    Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The spacecraft broke into many pieces, some of which apparently remained in Earth orbit for a few days. This occurred during the Cuban missile crisis and was picked up by U.S. military radar installations, who originally feared it might by the start of a Soviet nuclear attack.


1962 November 1 - . 16:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Mars 1 - . Payload: 2MV-4 s/n 4 / Sputnik 23. Mass: 894 kg (1,970 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-4. USAF Sat Cat: 450 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Nu-3.

    Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Launched from Sputnik 23 in a 157 x 238 km, 65 degree parking orbit. Sixty-one radio transmissions were held in which a large amount of data was collected. On March 21, 1963, when the spacecraft was at a distance of 106 million km communications ceased, possibly due to a malfunction in the spacecraft orientation system. Mars 1 closest approach to Mars occurred on June 19, 1963 at a distance of approximately 193,000 km, after which the spacecraft entered a heliocentric orbit. Announced mission: Prolonged exploration of outer space during flight to the planet Mars; establishment of inter-planetary radio communications; photgraphing of the planet Mars and subsquent radio-transmission to Earth of the photographs of the surface of Mars thus obtained.


1962 November 4 - . 15:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: After T+260 sec, a malfunction of the pressurization system of the central sustainer led to cavitation in the oxidizer pipeline and LOX pump, followed at T+292s by the fuel pump.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Sputnik 24 - . Payload: 2MV-3 s/n 1. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-3. Decay Date: 1962-11-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 451 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Xi-1. Apogee: 170 km (100 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 87.90 min.

    Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Although the escape stage and payload reached orbit, the strong third stage vibrations shook a fuse loose from its mount in the main nozzle of the escape stage Block L's engine. The engine could not be ignited and remained in Earth orbit. It decayed about two months after insertion.


1963 November 11 - . 06:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: During unpowered coast in parking orbit the escape stage Block L lost stable attitude. Engine ignition occurred in an incorrect direction.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Cosmos 21 - . Payload: 3MV-1A s/n 1. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev bureau. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1A. Decay Date: 1963-11-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 687 . COSPAR: 1963-044A. Apogee: 231 km (143 mi). Perigee: 192 km (119 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit as Cosmos-51 and burnt up on re-entry..

1964 February 19 - . 05:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Second stage failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • 3MV-1A - . Payload: 3MV-1A s/n 2. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1A. Decay Date: 1964-02-19 .

1964 November 5 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. FAILURE: Launch fairing failure. Failed Stage: S.
  • Mariner 3 - . Payload: Mariner C-2. Mass: 260 kg (570 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL, NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: Mariner. Spacecraft: Mariner 3-4. USAF Sat Cat: 923 . COSPAR: 1964-073A. Mars probe; launch fairing failure prevented Mars flyby. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1964 November 28 - . 14:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D.
  • Mariner 4 - . Payload: Mariner C-3. Mass: 260 kg (570 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL, NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: Mariner. Spacecraft: Mariner 3-4. USAF Sat Cat: 938 . COSPAR: 1964-077A.

    Mariner 4 provided the first up close pictures of Mars. The protective shroud covering Mariner 4 was jettisoned and the Agena D/Mariner 4 combination separated from the Atlas D booster at 14:27:23 GMT on 28 November 1964. The Agena D first burn from 14:28:14 to 14:30:38 put the spacecraft into an Earth parking orbit and the second burn from 15:02:53 to 15:04:28 injected the craft into a Mars transfer orbit. Mariner 4 separated from the Agena D at 15:07:09 and began cruise mode operations. The solar panels deployed and the scan platform was unlatched at 15:15:00 and Sun acquisition occurred 16 minutes later. A midcourse maneuver made on 5 December 1964.

    After a 228 day cruise, the spacecraft flew by Mars on July 14 and 15, 1965. Planetary science mode was turned on at 15:41:49 GMT on 14 July. The camera sequence started at 00:18:36 GMT on July 15 and 21 pictures plus 21 lines of a 22nd picture were taken. The images covered a discontinuous swath of Mars starting near 40 N, 170 E, down to about 35 S, 200 E, and then across to the terminator at 50 S, 255 E, representing about 1% of the planet's surface. The closest approach was 9,846 km from the Martian surface at 01:00:57 GMT 15 July 1965. The images taken during the flyby were stored in the onboard tape recorder. At 02:19:11 GMT Mariner 4 passed behind Mars as seen from Earth and the radio signal ceased. The signal was reacquired at 03:13:04 GMT when the spacecraft reappeared. Cruise mode was then re-established. Transmission of the taped images to Earth began about 8.5 hours after signal reacquisition and continued until 3 August. All images were transmitted twice to insure no data was missing or corrupt.

    The spacecraft performed all programmed activities successfully and returned useful data from launch until 22:05:07 GMT on 1 October 1965, when the distance from Earth (309.2 million km) and the antenna orientation temporarily halted signal acquisition. In 1967 Mariner 4 returned to the vicinity of Earth again and engineers decided to use the ageing craft for a series of operational and telemetry tests to improve their knowledge of the technologies that would be needed for future interplanetary spacecraft. The cosmic dust detector registered 17 hits in a 15 minute span on 15 September, part of an apparent micrometeoroid shower which temporarily changed the spacecraft attitude and probably slightly damaged the thermal shield. On 7 December the gas supply in the attitude control system was exhausted, and on December 10 and 11 a total of 83 micrometeoroid hits were recorded which caused perturbation of the attitude and degradation of the signal strength. On 21 December 1967 communications with Mariner 4 were terminated.

    Results

    The total data returned by the mission was 5.2 million bits. All experiments operated successfully with the exception of the ionization chamber/Geiger counter which failed in February, 1965 and the plasma probe, which had its performance degraded by a resistor failure on 6 December 1964. The images returned showed a Moon-like cratered terrain (which later missions showed was not typical for Mars, but only for the more ancient region imaged by Mariner 4). A surface atmospheric pressure of 4.1 to 7.0 mb was estimated and no magnetic field was detected.


1964 November 30 - . 13:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Zond 2 - . Payload: 3MV-4A s/n 2. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev bureau. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Mars 3MV-4A. USAF Sat Cat: 945 . COSPAR: 1964-078C.

    Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Zond 2 was launched from an earth parking orbit towards Mars to test space-borne systems and to carry out scientific investigations. Zond 2 carried six electric rocket engines of plasma type that served as actuators of the attitude control system. The communications system failed during April 1965. The spacecraft flew by Mars on August 6, 1965, at a distance of 1500 km.


1965 July 18 - . 14:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Zond 3 - . Payload: 3MV-4A s/n 3. Mass: 959 kg (2,114 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Mars 3MV-4A. USAF Sat Cat: 1454 . COSPAR: 1965-056A.

    Zond 3 was towards the moon and interplanetary space. The spacecraft was equipped with a TV system that provided automatic inflight film processing. On July 20, during lunar flyby, 25 pictures of very good quality were taken of the lunar farside from distances of 11,570 to 9960 km. The photos covered 19,000,000 km square of the lunar surface. Photo transmissions by facsimile were returned to earth from a distance of 2,200,000 km on July 29 and were retransmitted later from a distance of 31,500,000 km, thus proving the ability of the communications system. After the lunar flyby, Zond 3 continued space exploration in a heliocentric orbit. Those pictures showed clearly the heavily cratered nature of the surface. This mission dramatized the advances in space photography that the U.S.S.R. had made since its first far-side effort six years earlier.


1969 February 25 - . 01:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3C Centaur.
  • Mariner 6 - . Payload: Mariner 69-3. Mass: 412 kg (908 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL, NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: Mariner. Spacecraft: Mariner 6-7. USAF Sat Cat: 3759 . COSPAR: 1969-014A.

    Mars flyby 31 July 1969; returned 75 images of Martian surface. Ten days before the scheduled launch, a faulty switch opened the main valves on the Atlas stage. This released the pressure which supported the Atlas structure, and as the booster deflated it began to crumple. Two ground crewman started pressurizing pumps, saving the structure from further collapse. The two ground crewman, who had acted at risk of the 12-story rocket collapsing on them, were awarded Exceptional Bravery Medals from NASA.

    The Mariner 6 spacecraft was removed, put on another Atlas/Centaur, and launched on schedule. The main booster was jettisoned 4 min. 38 sec. after launch, followed by a 7.5 minute Centaur burn to inject the spacecraft into Mars direct trajectory. After Mariner 6 separated from the Centaur the solar panels were deployed. A midcourse correction involving a 5.35 second burn of the hydrazine rocket occurred on 1 March 1969. A few days later explosive valves were deployed to unlatch the scan platform. Some bright particles released during the explosion distracted the Canopus sensor, and attitude lock was lost temporarily. It was decided to place the spacecraft on inertial guidance for the Mars flyby to prevent a similar occurrence.

    On 29 July, 50 hours before closest approach, the scan platform was pointed to Mars and the scientific instruments turned on. Imaging of Mars began 2 hours later. For the next 41 hours, 49 approach images (plus a 50th fractional image) of Mars were taken through the narrow-angle camera. At 05:03 UT on 31 July the near-encounter phase began, including collection of 26 close-up images. Due to a cooling system failure, channel 1 of the IR spectrometer did not cool sufficiently to allow measurements from 6 to 14 micrometers so no infrared data were obtained over this range. Closest approach occurred at 05:19:07 UT at a distance of 3431 km from the martian surface. Eleven minutes later Mariner 6 passed behind Mars and reappeared after 25 minutes. X-band occultation data were taken during the entrance and exit phases. Science and imaging data were played back and transmitted over the next few days. The spacecraft was then returned to cruise mode which included engineering and communications tests, star photography TV tests, and UV scans of the Milky Way and an area containing comet 1969-B. Periodic tracking of the spacecraft in its heliocentric orbit was also done.

    Science Results

    Mariner 6 returned 49 far encounter and 26 near encounter images of Mars. Close-ups from the near encounter phases covered 20% of the surface. The spacecraft instruments measured UV and IR emissions and radio refractivity of the Martian atmosphere. Images showed the surface of Mars to be very different from that of the Moon, in some contrast to the results from Mariner 4. The south polar cap was identified as being composed predominantly of carbon dioxide. Atmospheric surface pressure was estimated at between 6 and 7 mb. Radio science refined estimates of the mass, radius and shape of Mars.


1969 March 27 - . 10:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. 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: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-69. Decay Date: 1969-03-27 . Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars, together with a landing probe..

1969 March 27 - . 22:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3C Centaur.
  • Mariner 7 - . Payload: Mariner 69-2. Mass: 412 kg (908 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL, NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: Mariner. Spacecraft: Mariner 6-7. USAF Sat Cat: 3837 . COSPAR: 1969-030A.

    Mars flyby 5 August 1969; returned 126 images of Martian surface. Mariner 7 was launched on a direct-ascent trajectory to Mars 31 days after Mariner 6. On 8 April 1969 a midcourse correction was made by firing the hydrazine moter for 7.6 seconds. On 8 May Mariner 7 was put on gyro control to avoid attitude control problems which were affecting Mariner 6. On 31 July telemetry from Mariner 7 was suddenly lost and the spacecraft was commanded to switch to the low-gain antenna. It was later successfully switched back to the high-gain antenna. It was thought that leaking gases, perhaps from the battery which later failed a few days before encounter, had caused the anomaly.

    At 09:32:33 GMT on 2 August 1969 Mariner 7 bagan the far-encounter sequence involving imaging of Mars with the narrow angle camera. Over the next 57 hours, ending about 5 hours before closest approach, 93 images of Mars were taken and transmitted. The spacecraft was reprogrammed as a result of analysis of Mariner 6 images. The new sequence called for the spacecraft to go further south than originally planned, take more near-encounter pictures, and collect more scientific data on the lighted side of Mars. Data from the dark side of Mars were to be transmitted directly back to Earth but there would be no room on the digital recorder for backup due to the added dayside data. At closest approach, 05:00:49 GMT on 5 August, Mariner 7 was 3430 km above the martian surface. Over this period, 33 near-encounter images were taken. About 19 minutes after the flyby, the spacecraft went behind Mars and emerged roughly 30 minutes later. X-band occultation data were taken during the entrance and exit phases. Science and imaging data were played back and transmitted over the next few days. The spacecraft was then returned to cruise mode which included engineering and communications tests, star photography TV tests, and UV scans of the Milky Way and an area containing comet 1969-B. Periodic tracking of the spacecraft in its heliocentric orbit was also done.

    Science Results

    The total data return for Mariners 6 and 7 was 800 million bits. Mariner 7 returned 93 far and 33 near encounter images. Close-ups from the near encounter phases covered 20% of the surface. The spacecraft instruments measured UV and IR emissions and radio refractivity of the Martian atmosphere. Images showed the surface of Mars to be very different from that of the Moon, in some contrast to the results from Mariner 4. The south polar cap was identified as being composed predominantly of carbon dioxide. Atmospheric surface pressure was estimated at between 6 and 7 mb. Radio science refined estimates of the mass, radius and shape of Mars.


1969 April 2 - . 10:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. 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: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-69. Decay Date: 1969-04-02 .

    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.


1971 May 9 - . 01:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3C Centaur. FAILURE: Inadvertent Centaur electronic signal shut down stage early.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mariner H - . Payload: Mariner 71H. Mass: 996 kg (2,195 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: Mariner. Spacecraft: Mariner 8-9. Decay Date: 1971-05-08 . Intended Mars flyby..

1971 May 10 - . 16:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. FAILURE: No Block D ignition due wrong timer setting.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Cosmos 419 - . Payload: M-71 s/n 170. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-71. Decay Date: 1971-05-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 5221 . COSPAR: 1971-042A. Apogee: 187 km (116 mi). Perigee: 134 km (83 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 87.70 min.

    Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars. Rocket block failed to reignite in Earth Orbit. It is widely believed this spacecraft was launched with the primary purpose of overtaking Mariner 8, which had been launched (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) two days earlier, and becoming the first Mars orbiter. The Proton booster successfully put the spacecraft into low (174 km x 159 km) Earth parking orbit with an inclination of 51.4 degrees, but the Block D stage 4 failed to function due to a bad ignition timer setting (the timer, which was supposed to start ignition 1.5 hours after orbit was erroneously set for 1.5 years.) The orbit decayed and the spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere 2 days later on 12 May 1971. The mission was designated Cosmos 419.


1971 May 19 - . 16:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Mars 2 - . Payload: M-71 s/n 171. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-71. USAF Sat Cat: 5234 . COSPAR: 1971-045A. Apogee: 25,000 km (15,000 mi). Perigee: 1,380 km (850 mi). Inclination: 48.9000 deg. Period: 1,080.00 min.

    Mars probe intended to conduct of a series of scientific investigations of the planet Mars and the space around it. Parameters are for Mars orbit. Mid-course corrections were made on 17 June and 20 November. Mars 2 released the descent module (1971-045D) 4.5 hours before reaching Mars on 27 November 1971. The descent system malfunctioned and the lander crashed at 45 deg S, 302 deg W, delivering the Soviet Union coat of arms to the surface. Meanwhile, the orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a 1380 x 24,940 km, 18 hour orbit about Mars with an inclination of 48.9 degrees. Scientific instruments were generally turned on for about 30 minutes near periapsis. Data was sent back for many months. It was announced that Mars 2 and 3 had completed their missions by 22 August 1972. On-orbit dry mass: 2265 kg. Had the lander survived, data would have been relayed to the earth via the orbiter.


1971 May 28 - . 15:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Mars 3 - . Payload: M-71 s/n 172. Mass: 4,643 kg (10,236 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-71. USAF Sat Cat: 5252 . COSPAR: 1971-049A. Apogee: 214,500 km (133,200 mi). Perigee: 1,528 km (949 mi). Inclination: 60.0000 deg. Period: 18,243.00 min.

    Mars probe intended to conduct of a series of scientific investigations of the planet Mars and the space around it. Parameters are for Mars orbit. The Mars 3 orbiter also carried a French-built experiment which was not carried on Mars 2. Called Spectrum 1, the instrument measured solar radiation at metric wavelengths in conjunction with Earth-based receivers to study the cause of solar outbursts. The Spectrum 1 antenna was mounted on one of the solar panels. A mid-course correction was made on 8 June. The descent module (COSPAR 1971-049F) was released at 09:14 GMT on 2 December 1971 about 4.5 hours before reaching Mars. Through aerodynamic braking, parachutes, and retro-rockets, the lander achieved a soft landing at 45 S, 158 W and began operations. However, after 20 sec the instruments stopped working for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, the orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a long 11-day period orbit about Mars with an inclination thought to be similar to that of Mars 2 (48.9 degrees). Data was sent back for many months. It was announced that Mars 2 and 3 had completed their missions by 22 August 1972.


1971 May 30 - . 22:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3C Centaur.
  • Mariner 9 - . Payload: Mariner 71J. Mass: 974 kg (2,147 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL, NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: Mariner. Spacecraft: Mariner 8-9. USAF Sat Cat: 5261 . COSPAR: 1971-051A.

    The first spacecraft to orbit another planet. The Mariner Mars 71 mission was planned to consist of two spacecraft on complementary missions. Mariner 8 was to map 70 % of the Martian surface and Mariner 9 was to study temporal changes in the Martian atmosphere and on the Martian surface. The launch failure of Mariner 8 forced Mariner 9 to combine the mission objectives of both. For the survey portion of the mission, the planetary surface was to be mapped with the same resolution as planned for the original mission, although the resolution of pictures of the polar regions would be decreased due to the increased slant range. The variable features experiments were changed from studies of six given areas every 5 days to studies of smaller regions every 17 days. Mariner 9 was launched on a direct trajectory to Mars. Separation from the booster occurred at 22:36 GMT. The four solar panels were deployed at 22:40 GMT. The sensors locked onto the Sun at 23:16, shortly after the spacecraft left the Earth's shadow and Canopus acquisition was achieved at 02:26 GMT 31 May. A planned midcourse maneuver was executed on 5 June. Mariner 9 arrived at Mars on 14 November 1971 after a 167 day flight. A 15 minute 23 second rocket burn put the spacecraft into Mars orbit. The insertion orbit had a periapsis of 1398 km and a period of 12 hr, 34 min. Two days later a 6 second rocket burn changed the orbital period to just under 12 hours with a periapsis of 1387 km. A correction trim maneuver was made on 30 December on the 94th orbit which raised the periapsis to 1650 km and changed the orbital period to 11:59:28 so that synchronous data transmissions could be made to the Goldstone 64-m DSN antenna.

    Imaging of the surface of Mars by Mariner 9 was delayed by a dust storm which started on 22 September 1971 in the Noachis region. The storm quickly grew into one of the largest global storms ever observed on Mars. By the time the spacecraft arrived at Mars no surface details could be seen except the summits of Olympus Mons and the three Tharsis volcanoes. The storm abated through November and December and normal mapping operations began. The spacecraft gathered data on the atmospheric composition, density, pressure, and temperature and also the surface composition, temperature, gravity, and topography of Mars. A total of 54 billion bits of scientific data were returned, including 7329 images covering the entire planet. After depleting its supply of attitude control gas, the spacecraft was turned off on 27 October 1972. Mariner 9 was left in an orbit which should not decay for at least 50 years, after which the spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere.

    The Mariner 9 mission resulted in a global mapping of the surface of Mars, including the first detailed views of the martian volcanoes, Valles Marineris, the polar caps, and the satellites Phobos and Deimos. It also provided information on global dust storms, the gravity field as well as evidence for surface aeolian activity.


1973 July 21 - . 19:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Mars 4 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 52S. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6742 . COSPAR: 1973-047A.

    Failed; did not enter Martian orbit as planned; intended to be a Mars orbiter mission. Mars 4 reached Mars on 10 February 1974. Due to use of helium in preflight tests of the computer chips, which resulted in degradation of the chips during the voyage to Mars, the retro-rockets never fired to slow the craft into Mars orbit. Mars 4 flew by the planet at a range of 2,200 km. It returned one swath of pictures and some radio occultation data. Final heliocentric orbit 1.02 x 1.63 AU, 2.2 degree inclination, 556 day period.


1973 July 25 - . 18:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Mars 5 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 53S. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6754 . COSPAR: 1973-049A.

    Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars. Parameters are for Mars orbit. Mars 5 reached Mars on 12 February 1974 and was inserted into a 1760 km x 32,586 km orbit. Due to computer chip failures the orbiter operated only a few days and returned atmospheric data and images of a small portion of the Martian southern hemisphere.


1973 August 5 - . 17:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Mars 6 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 50P. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6768 . COSPAR: 1973-052A.

    Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Total fueled launch mass of the lander and orbital bus was 3260 kg. It reached Mars on 12 March 1974, separated from the bus, and entered the atmosphere, where a parachute opened, slowing the descent. As the probe descended through the atmosphere it transmitted data for 150 seconds, representing the first data returned from the atmosphere of Mars. Unfortunately, the data were largely unreadable due to a flaw in a computer chip which led to degradation of the system during its journey to Mars. When the retro-rockets fired for landing, contact was lost with the craft. Mars 6 landed at about 24 degrees south, 25 degrees west in the Margaritifer Sinus region of Mars. Bus ended up in a final heliocentric orbit 1.01 x 1.67 AU, 2.2 degree inclination, 567 day period.


1973 August 9 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D.
  • Mars 7 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 51P. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 4MV. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6776 . COSPAR: 1973-053A.

    Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Mars 7 reached Mars on 9 March 1974. Due to a problem in the operation of one of the onboard systems (attitude control or retro-rockets) the landing probe separated prematurely and missed the planet by 1,300 km. The early separation was probably due to a computer chip error which resulted in degradation of the systems during the trip to Mars. Ended up in a final heliocentric orbit 1.01 x 1.69 AU, 2.2 degree inclination, 574 day period.


1975 January 1 - . Launch Vehicle: UR-700.
  • Chelomei presents plan for Mars mission - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei. Class: Mars. Type: Manned Mars flyby. Spacecraft: MK-700.

    As the only remaining contender for the Aelita design competition, Chelomei proposes a Mars flyby using an MK-700 spacecraft. A crew of two would be sent on a two year mission in a single launch of a UR-700M booster. The spacecraft would have a mass of 250 tonnes in low earth orbit and be equipped with an RD-410 nuclear engine.


1975 August 20 - . 21:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan IIIE.
  • Viking 1 Orbiter - . Payload: Viking 1. Mass: 3,399 kg (7,493 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Viking. USAF Sat Cat: 8108 . COSPAR: 1975-075A.

    A Titan HIE carrying a Viking payload was successfully launched from LC-41, Eastern Test Range. This was the first flight of a new oxydizer accumulator developed for the HIE. Combined Mars orbiter and lander mission; orbiter inserted in Mars orbit 6/19/76; lander soft landed on Martian surface 7/20/76Mars. Mars Orbit. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B).

  • Viking 1 Lander - . Payload: Viking 1. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Viking. Decay Date: 1976-07-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 9024 . COSPAR: 1975-075C.

    A Titan HIE carrying a Viking payload was successfully launched from LC-41, Eastern Test Range. This was the first flight of a new oxydizer accumulator developed for the HIE. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B).


1975 September 9 - . 18:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan IIIE.
  • Viking 2 Orbiter - . Mass: 3,399 kg (7,493 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Viking. USAF Sat Cat: 8199 . COSPAR: 1975-083A.

    A Titan HIE carrying a Viking payload was successfully launched from LC-41, Eastern Test Range. This was the first flight of a new Command Receiver Set. A fire occurred at the launch site following launch and caused $2 million damage to the Aerospace Ground Equipment building. Combined Mars orbiter and lander mission; orbiter inserted in Mars orbit 8/7/76; lander soft landed on Martian surface 9/3/76Mars. Mars Orbit. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B).

  • Viking 2 Lander - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Viking. Decay Date: 1976-08-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 9408 . COSPAR: 1975-083C.

    A Titan HIE carrying a Viking payload was successfully launched from LC-41, Eastern Test Range. This was the first flight of a new Command Receiver Set. A fire occurred at the launch site following launch and caused $2 million damage to the Aerospace Ground Equipment building. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B).


1988 July 7 - . 17:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-2.
  • Phobos 1 - . Payload: 1F s/n 101. Mass: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. USAF Sat Cat: 19281 . COSPAR: 1988-058A. Apogee: 130,504 km (81,091 mi). Perigee: 2,628 km (1,632 mi). Inclination: 50.8000 deg. Period: 3,267.73 min.

    Second of two missions to Mars' moon Phobos; carried 2 landers; planned to enter Mars orbit. Phobos 1 operated nominally until an expected communications session on 2 September 1988 failed to occur. The failure of controllers to regain contact with the spacecraft was traced to an error in the software uploaded on 29/30 August which had deactivated the attitude thrusters. This resulted in a loss of lock on the Sun, resulting in the spacecraft orienting the solar arrays away from the Sun, thus depleting the batteries. Left in solar Orbit (Heliocentric).

  • 1F DPS - . Payload: Dolgozhivushchaya PS. Mass: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: UNKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. COSPAR: 1988-058xx.

1988 July 12 - . 17:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/40. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-2.
  • Phobos 2 - . Payload: 1F s/n 102. Mass: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. USAF Sat Cat: 19287 . COSPAR: 1988-059A. Apogee: 79,750 km (49,550 mi). Perigee: 850 km (520 mi). Inclination: 1.0000 deg. Period: 4,590.00 min.

    First of two Mars missions to Mars' moon Phobos; carried two landers; entered Mars orbit 1/29/89; failed 3/27/89; extremely limited science data. Phobos 2 operated nominally throughout its cruise and Mars orbital insertion phases, gathering data on the Sun, interplanetary medium, Mars, and Phobos. Shortly before the final phase of the mission, during which the spacecraft was to approach within 50 m of Phobos' surface and release two landers, one a mobile 'hopper', the other a stationary platform, contact with Phobos 2 was lost. The mission ended when the spacecraft signal failed to be successfully reacquired on 27 March 1989. The cause of the failure was determined to be a malfunction of the on-board computer.

  • 1F PPS - . Payload: Prigayushchaya PS. Mass: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: UNKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. COSPAR: 1988-059xx.
  • 1F DPS - . Payload: Dolgozhivushchaya PS. Mass: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: UNKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. COSPAR: 1988-059xx.

1992 September 25 - . 17:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC40. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Commercial Titan 3.
  • Mars Observer - . Payload: Mars Observer [TOS-21H]. Mass: 2,573 kg (5,672 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars Observer. USAF Sat Cat: 22136 . COSPAR: 1992-063A. Planned Mars orbiter; lost contact during orbit insertion burn. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1996 November 7 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925.
  • Mars Global Surveyor - . Payload: MGS / Leros 1B LAE. Nation: USA. Agency: JPL, NASA. Program: Mars Surveyor. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars Global Surveyor. USAF Sat Cat: 24648 . COSPAR: 1996-062A.

    Mars Global Surveyor entered a 258 x 54021 km x 93.3 deg polar orbit around Mars on 12 September 1997 after a 22 minute burn of its main engine. After a long aerobraking phase to a lower circular orbit, the spacecraft began its primary mission of photographing and observing changes on the Martian surface in March 1999. After nearly ten years of service, the last signals from MGS were received on 3 November 2006. The spacecraft went silent after an incorrect software upload caused its solar arrays to lose power.


1996 November 16 - . 20:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-2. FAILURE: No second Block D-2 ignition.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mars-96 (Mars 8) - . Payload: M1 s/n 520. Mass: 6,180 kg (13,620 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Mars M1. Decay Date: 1996-11-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 24656 . COSPAR: 1996-064A. Apogee: 340 km (210 mi). Perigee: 110 km (60 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg.

    The Mars 96 spacecraft was launched into Earth orbit, but failed to achieve insertion into Mars cruise trajectory and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at about 00:45 to 01:30 GMT on 17 November 1996 and crashed within a presumed 320 km by 80 km area which includes parts of the Pacific Ocean, Chile, and Bolivia. The Russian Mars 96 mission was designed to send an orbiter, two small autonomous stations, and two surface penetrators to Mars.

  • Penetrator 2 - . Payload: PN s/n 520/5. Mass: 6,180 kg (13,620 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.
  • Penetrator 1 - . Payload: PN s/n 520/4. Mass: 6,180 kg (13,620 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.
  • MAS 1 - . Payload: MAS s/n 520/1. Mass: 6,180 kg (13,620 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.
  • MAS 2 - . Payload: MAS s/n 520/2. Mass: 6,180 kg (13,620 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.

1996 December 4 - . 06:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925.
1998 July 3 - . 18:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M-V. Launch Vehicle: M-V.
  • Nozomi - . Mass: 258 kg (568 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Manufacturer: NEC. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Nozomi. USAF Sat Cat: 25383 . COSPAR: 1998-041A. Apogee: 489,381 km (304,086 mi). Perigee: 703 km (436 mi). Inclination: 27.3000 deg. Period: 20,910.00 min.

    Originally known as Planet-B; renamed Nozomi ('Hope') after launch. The third stage and payload entered a 146 x 417 km x 31.1 deg parking orbit. The KM-V1 kick (fourth) stage then fired to place the spacecraft into a circumlunar 359 x 401491 km x 28.6 deg orbit. Nozomi made multiple lunar and Earth gravity assist passes to increase its energy for solar orbit insertion and the cruise to Mars.. The spacecraft used a lunar swingby on 24 September and another on 18 December 1998 to increase the apogee of its orbit. It swung by Earth on 20 December at a perigee of about 1000 km. The gravitational assist from the swingby coupled with a 7 minute burn of the bipropellant engine put Nozomi into an escape trajectory towards Mars. It was scheduled to arrive at Mars on 11 October 1999 at 7:45:14 GMT, but the Earth swingby left the spacecraft with insufficient acceleration and two course correction burns on 21 December used more propellant than planned, leaving the spacecraft short of fuel. The new plan is for Nozomi to remain in heliocentric orbit for an additional four years and encounter Mars at a slower relative velocity in December 2003.


1998 December 11 - . 18:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. Launch Pad: SLC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7425-9.5.
  • Mars Climate Orbiter - . Mass: 629 kg (1,386 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL. Manufacturer: Martin. Program: Mars Surveyor. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: MCO. Decay Date: 1999-09-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 25571 . COSPAR: 1998-073A.

    The Mars Climate Orbiter was the second flight of the Mars Surveyor Program. The probe was to enter a 160 km x 38600 km polar orbit around Mars on September 23,1999, and use aerobraking to reach a 373 km x 437 km x 92.9 degree sun-synchronous mapping orbit by November 23 1999. While the Mars Orbit Insertion burn began as planned on September 23, 1999 at 08:50 GMT, no signal was received after the spacecraft went behind the planet. Subsequent investigation showed that the spacecraft had plunged deep into the Martian atmosphere, with its closest approach to Mars being 57 km. It was concluded that the spacecraft burnt up in the atmosphere. It was later found that cutbacks in tracking, combined with incorrect values in a look-up table imbedded deep in the spacecraft software (use of pounds force instead of newtons) were to blame. This failure led to a shake-up of NASA's 'faster, better, cheaper' approach to unmanned spaceflight. Additional Details: here....


1999 January 3 - . 20:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. Launch Pad: SLC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7425-9.5.
  • Mars Polar Lander - . Mass: 576 kg (1,269 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL. Manufacturer: Martin. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars Polar Lander. Decay Date: 1999-12-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 25605 . COSPAR: 1999-001A.

    The Mars Polar Lander was placed by the first burn of the second stage into a 157 x 245 km x 28.35 deg parking orbit. The second stage restarted at 20:55 GMT and shut down in a 226 x 740 km x 25.8 deg Earth orbit. The solid rocket third stage (a Star 48B with a Nutation Control System and a yo-yo despin device) then ignited and put the spacecraft into solar orbit, separating at 21:02 GMT. Mars Polar Lander was to land near the south pole of Mars on December 3, 1999, and conduct conduct a three month mission, trenching near its landing site and testing for the presense of frozen water and carbon dioxide. Attached were two Deep Space 2 Microprobes, penetrators which would impact the Martian surface separately from the lander and return data on subsurface conditions from widely spaced points.

    When the spacecraft reached Mars on December 3, the lander separated from the cruise stage at 19:51 UTC and the two penetrators, Scott and Amundsen, were to separate about 20 seconds later. No further communications were ever received from the spacecraft. Landing had been expected at 20:01 UTC at 76.1S 195.3W, with the penetrators landing a few kilometres from each other at 75.0S 196.5W.

    This failure resulted in a review and reassessment of NASA's 'faster, better, cheaper' approach to planetary missions.

  • DS2 Microprobe 2 - . Nation: USA. Agency: Douglas. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: Mars Polar Lander. Spacecraft: DS2 Microprobe. Decay Date: 1999-03-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 25607 . COSPAR: 1999-001C. Apogee: 645 km (400 mi). Perigee: 220 km (130 mi). Inclination: 25.8000 deg. Period: 93.23 min.

2001 April 7 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. Launch Pad: SLC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925-9.5.
  • 2001 Mars Odyssey - . Mass: 725 kg (1,598 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars Odyssey. USAF Sat Cat: 26734 . COSPAR: 2001-013A.

    The 2001 Mars Odyssey probe (formerly the Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter) was the first spacecraft in the revamped NASA Mars Exploration Program. Built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics (Denver) and JPL, the satellite was similar to Mars Climate Orbiter. It carried a 6-meter boom with a gamma ray spectrometer for remote sensing of Martian surface mineralogy, as well as an infrared imager and a radiation environment monitor. The probe had a dry mass of 376 kg and carried 349 kg of propellant. 2001 Mars Odyssey entered a 195 x 215 km x 52 deg parking orbit 10 minutes after launch. After a 12 minute coast the Delta second stage fired again and separated from the third stage, which placed the probe on an Earth escape trajectory into a 0.982 x 1.384 AU x 3.05 deg solar orbit. It escaped Earth's nominal gravitational sphere of influence at around 19:00 GMT on April 10.

    The 2001 Mars Odyssey probe entered Mars orbit on October 24, 2001. The orbit insertion burn with the main 640 N bipropellant N2O4/hydrazine engine began at 0218 GMT lasted 20 min 19 sec. Mass of the spacecraft was then 456 kg, including 79 kg of fuel left. Initial orbit was was 272 x 26818 km x 93.42 deg with periapsis near the Martian north pole. 76 days of aerobraking began on October 26 to slowly circularise the orbit to its 400 km altitude, 2 hour period sun synchronous operational orbit. The solar panels reached 180 deg C as Odyssey skimmed through upper atmosphere of Mars on each orbit.

    After reaching the operational orbit, the probe was to conduct a 917 day mapping program. It was to also serve as a communications relay for American and international landers expected to arrive in 2003/2004. In the Martian orbit, it was to map the distribution of elements and minerals on the surface, the distribution of hydrogen (embedded in water ice) and the radiation environment. The second was to assess the likelyhood of past or present life, and the third was to assess the radiation hazard to manned missions. The three major instruments on board were THEMIS (Thermal Emission Imaging System at the visible and infrared light) for the distribution, at 100 meter resolution, of minerals that form only in the presence of water, GRS (Gamma Ray Spectrometer) for determining hydrogen and other elements, and MARIE (presumably, MArs RadIation Environment) for determining the radiation hazard. THEMIS was to also enable site selection for a future manned landing. THEMIS was expected to provide 15,000 images, each covering 20 x 20 km. GRS carried two neutron monitors also. The gamma rays and neutrons come out of the surface in distinct, element-specific energies, released by cosmic ray bombardment.


2003 June 2 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-FG.
  • Mars Express (F-1) / Mars Orbiter / Beagle 2 - . Mass: 1,120 kg (2,460 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: ESA. Manufacturer: Friedrichshafen. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars Express. USAF Sat Cat: 27816 . COSPAR: 2003-022A. Apogee: 177 km (109 mi). Perigee: 177 km (109 mi). Inclination: 51.8000 deg. Period: 88.00 min.

    Europe's first probe to Mars. Mars Express had a mass of 637 kg dry, including science payload and Beagle separation device, together with 480 kg of propellant and the 69 kg Beagle 2 lander, for a total of 1186 kg. In addition to this a 37 kg adapter remained attached to the Fregat upper stage. Mars Express was placed into a 1.014 x 1.531 AU x 0.2 deg orbit around the Sun, following a course correction on June 5. The launch was first moved forward from June 1 and May 31 to May 23. Then delayed to June 6, then moved forward to June 2.


2003 June 10 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. Launch Pad: SLC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925-9.5.
  • Spirit (Mars Exploration Rover A, MER-2) - . Payload: MER-A. Mass: 1,063 kg (2,343 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: JPL. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: MER. Decay Date: 2004-01-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 27827 . COSPAR: 2003-027A. Mars rover, placed in a 1.014 AU x 1.531 AU x 0.2 deg solar orbit. Anticipated landing on Mars on Launch delayed from May 30, June 6, 8 and 9. Payload included 530 kg Mars lander total mass, 170 kg Mars Rover mass...

2003 July 8 - . 04:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. Launch Pad: SLC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925H.
  • Opportunity (Mars Exploration Rover B, MER-1) - . Mass: 1,063 kg (2,343 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: MER. Decay Date: 2004-01-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 27849 . COSPAR: 2003-032A.

    NASA's second Mars Exploration Rover, MER-B (MER-1) 'Opportunity', was launched by a Delta 7925H, which was similar to the standard 7925 model but with larger GEM-46 solid strapon motors previously used only on the Delta III 8930. MER-B separated from the Delta third stage at 0436 UTC and was then on its way to Mars. The launch had been delayed from June 26, 29 and 30, July 3, 6 and 7. Mass included cruise stage, lander and rover. Rover mass was 170 kg, lander 360 kg.


2005 August 12 - . 11:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - . Mass: 2,180 kg (4,800 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: JPL, NASA. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. USAF Sat Cat: 28788 . COSPAR: 2005-029A. Transferred from Atlas 3B. Delayed from August 10 and 11, 2005..

2007 August 4 - . 09:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. Launch Pad: SLC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925-9.5.
  • Phoenix - . Mass: 680 kg (1,490 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Phoenix. Decay Date: 2008-05-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 32003 . COSPAR: 2007-034A.

    Mars lander based on surplus hardware from the cancelled Mars Surveyor 2001 and the failed Mars Polar Lander (whence the Phoenix designation). The planned landing location was in the north of Mars, at Vastitas Borealis. The spacecraft consisted of a cruise stage, aeroshell for re-entry, backshell for protection of the lander, parachute system for braking the lander after re-entry, and liquid propellant rocket system for a soft touchdown on the surface. The lander was equipped with a robotic arm, soil analysis instruments, meteorology instruments, and cameras.


2011 November 8 - . 20:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC45/1. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2SB.
  • Fobos-Grunt - . Mass: 13,500 kg (29,700 lb). Nation: Russia. Class: Mars. Type: Mars orbiter. Spacecraft Bus: 5MV. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. Decay Date: 2012-01-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 37872 . COSPAR: 2011-065A. Apogee: 274 km (170 mi). Perigee: 199 km (123 mi). Inclination: 51.4000 deg. Period: 89.20 min.

    Failed soil-return mission to Martian moon Phobos. The main propulsion system, which was to have boosted the probe out of earth parking orbit to trans-Mars insertion, failed to ignite. Attempts to communicate with the spacecraft partially succeeded but it could not be commanded to conduct an engine burn at a later opportunity. Destroyed on reentry into the earth's atmosphere.


2011 November 26 - . 15:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 541.
  • MSL - . Mass: 3,839 kg (8,463 lb). Nation: USA. Class: Mars. Type: Mars rover. Spacecraft Bus: Mars Rovers. Spacecraft: MSL. Decay Date: 2012-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 37936 . COSPAR: 2011-070A. Apogee: 319 km (198 mi). Perigee: 161 km (100 mi). Inclination: 28.9000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. Mars Science Laboratory; 899 kg Curiosity Rover to be landed on Mars surface in August 2012..

2013 November 5 - . 09:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Sriharikota. Launch Complex: Sriharikota PSLV. Launch Pad: xxx. LV Family: PSLV. Launch Vehicle: PSLV-XL.
  • Mars Orbiter Spacecraft - . Mass: 1,350 kg (2,970 lb). Nation: India. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Chandrayaan. USAF Sat Cat: 39370 . COSPAR: 2013-060A.

    First Indian mission to Mars. Carried 15 kg of instruments, including a color camera, but primary purpose was to test technologies for future planetary missions. Carried 850 kg of propellant for trans-Mars ejection and insertion into Martian orbit on arrival there. The MOS was inserted in elliptical Earth orbit; it used its own propulsion to achieve trans-Mars injection. The fourth stage and MOM payload entered a 251 x 23,892 km x 19.4 deg orbit with first perigee over the South Pacific. On November 7 the orbit was raised to 259 x 28,726 km, and on November 8 to over 70,000 km apogee. A further burn on November 10 delivered only 35 m/s, raising the apogee less than planned. A makeup burn on November 11 fixed the problem, and a burn on November 15 put the spacecraft in a 853 x 194,683 km x 19.4 deg orbit. A final perigee burn at 19:19 GMT on November 30 accelerated MOM to a hyperbolic Earth escape trajectory, and it entered an 0.98 x 1.45 AU solar orbit on December 3 on the way to Mars.


2013 November 18 - . 18:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • MAVEN - . Mass: 2,454 kg (5,410 lb). Nation: USA. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: MAVEN. USAF Sat Cat: 39378 . COSPAR: 2013-063A.

    Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN orbiter designed to study the escape of gases from the upper Martian atmosphere. It carried particles and fields instruments and an imaging ultraviolet spectrometer. MAVEN reached a 167 x 315 km x 26.7 deg parking orbit at 18:41 GMT; the Centaur AV-038 stage restarted at 19:09 GMT and inserted MAVEN into a trans-Mars trajectory. MAVEN and the Centaur left the Earth-Moon system on November 21 in a 0.97 x 1.47 AU x 2.1 deg heliocentric orbit which will take them to Mars in September 2014.


2016 March 14 - . 09:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-M/Briz-M.
  • ExoMars TGO - . Nation: Russia. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: ExoMars. USAF Sat Cat: 41388 . COSPAR: 2016-017A. Apogee: -71,368 km (-71,368 mi). Perigee: 750 km (460 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg.

    first ESA ExoMars mission. The main spacecraft on this mission was the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which entered Mars orbit to study its atmosphere. Attached to it was the Schiaparelli EDM lander. The TGO carried a color and stereo camera, IR and UV spectrometers, a neutron detector, and a communications relay package to support future surface missions. The combined spacecraft had a mass of 4332 kg. TGO was built by Thales/Cannes (formerly GTC/Sud Aviation) and EDM by Thales/Torino (formerly Fiat). Proton-M No. 93560 put the stack into a suborbital trajectory. The Briz-M upper stage, S/N 99560, separated at 0941 UTC and fired for 6 minutes to enter a 185 x 185 km x 51.5 deg parking orbit at 0947 UTC. After completing one orbit, a second burn at 1110 UTC raised the orbit to 250 x 5800 km. At the next perigee, at 1324 UTC, the orbit was raised to 696 x 21086 km and the Briz-M additional propellant tank was jettisoned. On completing this orbit, the fourth burn began at 1948 UTC to propel the vehicle to escape velocity. ExoMars TGO/EDM separated from the Briz-M at 2013 UTC in a hyperbolic Earth escape orbit (C3 = 13.78 km**2/s**2). The ExoMars spacecraft entered the Martian gravitational Hill sphere at 0110 UTC Oct 16, and at 1442 UTC Oct 16 split into the separate TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) and EDM (Entry-Descent-Landing Demonstrator Module) vehicles. TGO made an insertion burn on Oct 19 from 1304 to 1523 UTC, entering a 4-day-period, 346 x 95228 km x 9.7 orbit deg around Mars.

    ExoMars-2016 mass breakdown as follows:

      Schiaparelli
        EDM Surface Platform        280 kg
        SP hydrazine                 46 kg
        Front Shield                200 kg?
        Back Cover                   54 kg?
        Parachute system             20 kg?
      -------------------------------------
      EDM total                     600 kg
      TGO spacecraft               1365 kg  (including 41 kg separation assembly)
      TGO propellant               2367 kg
      -------------------------------------
      ExoMars-2016 launch total    4332 kg
  • Schiaparelli - . Nation: Russia. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Schiaparelli. COSPAR: 2016-017. Apogee: -71,368 km (-71,368 mi). Perigee: 750 km (460 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg.

    The Schiaparelli EDM was the EDL Demonstrator Module, where EDL was "Entry, Descent and Landing". EDM consisted of an aeroshell containing the EDM Surface Platform (ESP, a triply-nested three-letter-acronym proving that ESA can compete with NASA in the TLA race). EDM attempted o land on the surface as a technology demonstration, and carried a small meteorology payload. The EDM separated from TGO three days before Mars arrival and entered the Martian atmosphere on a hyperbolic trajectory towards a landing site at 6.1W 1.9S in Meridiani Planum. After entry a parachute slowed the vehicle, the back cover and forward shield were jettisoned, and thrusters slowed the ESP further. The ESP underside consisted of a crushable structure to absorb impact with the surface. In the event, Schiaparelli approached on a 62 x -13982 km x 8.2 deg hyperbola and entered the Martian atmosphere at 1442 UTC at a speed of 5.86 km/s and an angle of -11.9 degrees. During descent, data was relayed to Mars orbiting spacecraft for later retransmission as well as sent on a live link picked up by the GMRT radio telescope near Pune, India.Schiaparelli survived the entry and deployed its parachute 4 minutes later at an altitude of 11 km. The heatshield was jettisoned 30 seconds later, and at 1447 UTC the parachute and attached backshell were separated at an altitude of 1.3 km over the Meridiani Planum landing site at 6.11W 2.07S. It appeared that the parachute / backshell separated 15 seconds earlier than expected. The thrusters fired for only 3 seconds, and the lander transitioned to landing mode while still well above the surface. A free fall of 19 seconds ensued, followed by a high speed (hundreds of km/hr) impact. At this point communications from the lander ceased. MRO imaged the EDM lander's impact scar at 6.11W 2.07S. The parachute was 0.16 km E 0.91km S of the lander.



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