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Mars M-69
Part of 4MV Family
M-69 Version 2
M-69 Version 2
Russian Mars orbiter. Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars.


More at: Mars M69 #1, #2.

Country: Russia. Launch Vehicles: Mars tactical rocket, Proton, Proton-K/D.
Photo Gallery

Mars probeMars probe
Mars probe configuration with double re-entry vehicles believed planned for the cancelled 1969 or 1975 launch series.
Credit: © Mark Wade


Mars M69 #1Mars M69 #1
Credit: Manufacturer Image


M-69 Version 1M-69 Version 1



1969 January 8 - .
  • Plan for Soviet lunar and planetary launches to answer America's Apollo program during 1969 approved. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Babakin. Spacecraft: Luna Ye-8, Luna Ye-8-5, Mars M-69, Soyuz 7K-L1, Venera 2V (V-69). 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. 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 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.



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