The Mission and Spacecraft Library


The Mariner series of spacecraft were interplanetary probes designed to investigate Mars, Venus, and Mercury. The program included a number of firsts, including the first planetary flyby, the first planetary orbiter, and the first gravity assist. To date, Mariner 10 is also the only spacecraft ever to perform up-close observations of Mercury. The Mariner series complemented the Pioneer vehicles which flew during the same time period. Of the 10 vehicles in the Mariner series, 7 were successful (the other 3 were lost due to launch vehicle failures). The planned Mariner 11 and 12 vehicles evolved into Voyager 1 and 2. A set of missions planned as follow-ons to the Mariner series, Mariner Mark 2, was cancelled in the early '90s due to budgetary constraints.

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Launch Facts
 Name  Int'l Desig.  Date  Site  Vehicle  Orbit  Mass(kg)
 Mariner 1  none  7/22/62  ESMC  Atlas Agena B  FTO  200
    Destroyed by range safety; Venus probe
 Mariner 2  1962-A[Rho]1  8/27/62  ESMC  Atlas Agena B  Solar  201
    Venus flyby at 34745 km
 Mariner 3  1964-073A  11/5/64  ESMC  Atlas Agena D  Solar  260
    Mars probe; launch fairing failure prevented Mars flyby
 Mariner 4  1964-077A  11/28/64  ESMC  Atlas Agena D  Solar  260
    Mars probe
 Mariner 5  1967-060A  6/14/67  ESMC  Atlas Agena D  Solar  244
    Venus flyby 10/19/67
 Mariner 6  1969-014A  2/24/69  ESMC  Atlas Centaur  Solar  412
    Mars flyby 7/31/69; returned 75 images of Martian surface
 Mariner 7  1969-030A  3/27/69  ESMC  Atlas Centaur  Solar  412
    Mars flyby 8/5/69; returned 126 images of Martian surface
 Mariner 8 (Mariner H)  none  5/8/71  ESMC  Atlas Centaur  FTO  996
    2nd stage failure; intended Mars flyby
 Mariner 9  1971-051A  5/30/71  ESMC  Atlas Centaur  Mars  974
    Entered Mars orbit 11/13/71
 Mariner 10  1973-085A  11/3/73  ESMC  Atlas Centaur  Solar  526
    Venus flyby 2/5/74; Mercury flybys on 3/29/74, 9/21/74, 3/16/75

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