The Mission and Spacecraft Library

Pioneer 6, 7, 8, 9, E

Part of the Pioneer program

Pioneer 6, 7, 8, 9, E picture Pioneers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were created to make the first detailed, comprehensive measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. Designed to measure large scale magnetic phenomena and particles and fields in interplanetary space, data from the vehicles has been used to better understand stellar processes as well as the structure and flow of the solar wind. The vehicles also acted as the world's first space-based solar weather network, providing practical data on solar storms which impact communications and power on Earth. A fifth spacecraft, Pioneer E, was lost when it failed to orbit due to a launch vehicle failure. The Pioneer 6-9 program has been touted as one of the least expensive of all NASA spacecraft programs in terms of scientific results per dollar spent. As of 1996, Pioneer 6 was NASA's oldest operational satellite, having been in orbit over 30 years.

Spin stabilized at ~60 rpm. Body mounted solar cells provide 79 watts.

6 instruments total including Plasma Analyzer, Cosmic Ray Detector.

Country of Origin United States
Customer/User NASA, Ames Research Center
Manufacturer(s) TRW
Size 0.94 m diameter x 0.81 m tall, 1.8 m long magnetometer boom
Orbit Solar orbits, between 0.8 and 1.2 AU
Design Life 6 months

Launch Facts
 Name  Int'l Desig.  Date  Site  Vehicle  Orbit  Mass(kg)
 Pioneer 6  1965-105A  12/16/65  ESMC  Delta E  Solar  63
    Measured solar wind, Sun's magnetic field
 Pioneer 7  1966-075A  8/17/66  ESMC  Delta E  Solar  63
    Monitored solar wind, cosmic rays
 Pioneer 8  1967-123A  12/13/67  ESMC  Delta E  Solar  63
    Solar radiation data
 Pioneer 9  1968-100A  11/8/68  ESMC  Delta E  Solar  63
    Solar radiation data
 Pioneer E  none  8/27/69  ESMC  Delta L  FTO  67
    1st stage hydraulics failure; destroyed by range safety

Update Listing


[MSL Home] [Feedback] [Glossary]

Information in The Mission and Spacecraft Library is provided without warranty or guarantee. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.