The Mission and Spacecraft Library

Mariner 8,9

Part of the Mariner program

Mariner 8,9 picture Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. On November 13, 1971 the spacecraft entered Martian orbit and began photographing the surface and analyzing the atmosphere with its infrared and ultraviolet instruments. At the time of Mariner 9's arrival, Mars was almost totally obscured by dust storms. However, the storms subsided after a month, allowing imaging of the Martian surface. The mission exceeded all primary photographic requirements by photo-mapping 100 percent of the planet's surface and taking the first close-up photographs of Mars' moons Deimos and Phobos. The spacecraft returned a total of 7329 images before it was turned off 349 days after entering orbit. The mission originally consisted of two spacecraft designed to simultaneously map the Martian surface, but the identical Mariner 8 vehicle was lost in a launch vehicle failure. The total cost of the mission was $137 million.

Octagonal structure of magnesium, aluminum and fiberglass. Four solar panel produced 800 W at Earth and 500 W at Mars. NiCd batteries (20 AHr). Monomethyl hydrazine propellant. S-Band communications. 3-axis stabilized to 0.25 deg using 12 cold gas jets.

Scan platform supported an infrared radiometer, wide-angle TV, ultraviolet spectrometer, narrow-angle TV (1-2 km resolution), and IR interferometric spectrometer. The scan platform articulated 215 deg in azimuth and 69 deg in elevation.

Country of Origin United States
Customer/User NASA
Manufacturer(s) JPL
Size Bus: 1.5 ft x 4.2 ft diameter
Orbit Direct to Mars - 1390 x 17140 km, 12 hour period, inclination 65 deg
Design Life 9 months
Related Sites JPL Mariner 9 Summary Page

Launch Facts
 Name  Int'l Desig.  Date  Site  Vehicle  Orbit  Mass(kg)
 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

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