National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Pioneer 7
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Search all Missions Between:      and      Search
1950-1959 1960-1969 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2009 2010-2019 2020+
Pioneer 7
Pioneer 7 Mission to Comets Pioneer 7 Mission to Our Solar System

Mission Type: Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: Thor-Delta E-1 (no. 40 / Thor no. 462 / DSV-3E)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, USA, launch complex 17A,
NASA Center: Ames Research Center
Spacecraft Mass: 62.75 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) single-axis fluxgate magnetometer; 2) Faraday-cup plasma probe; 3) plasma analyzer; 4) cosmic-ray telescope; 5) cosmic-ray-anisotropy detector; and 6) radio wave propagation experiment
Spacecraft Dimensions: 138.0 kg
Spacecraft Power: Solar cells and batteries
Maximum Data Rate: 512 bps
Program Manager: Fred D. Kochendorfer
Project Manager: Charles F. Hall
Principal Scientists: Dr. John H. Wolfe, Dr. Albert G. Opp
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi

National Space Science Data Center,

Identical to Pioneer 6, Pioneer 7 was put into heliocentric orbit at 1.01 ? 1.125 AU (a little farther from the Sun than Earth's orbit) to study the solar magnetic field, the solar wind, and cosmic rays at widely separated points in solar orbit.

On 7 September 1968, the spacecraft was correctly aligned with the Sun and Earth to begin studying Earth's magnetic tail. In 1977, eleven years after its launch, Pioneer 7 registered the magnetic tail 19.3 million kilometers out, three times further into space than recorded previously.

On 20 March 1986, the spacecraft flew within 12.3 million kilometers of Halley's Comet and monitored the interaction between the cometary hydrogen tail and the solar wind. On 31 March 1995, more than 29 years after launch, the plasma analyzer was turned on during 2 hours of contact with the ground.

Along with Pioneers 6, 8, and 9,the spacecraft formed a ring of solar weather stations spaced along Earth's orbit. Measurements by the four Pioneers were used to predict solar storms for approximately 1,000 primary users, including the Federal Aviation Administration; commercial airlines; power companies; communication companies; military organizations; and entities involved in surveying, navigation, and electronic prospecting.


Key Dates
17 Aug 1966:  Launch
20 Mar 1986:  Comet Halley Observations
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Pioneer 7 Facts Pioneer 7 helped provide data used to predict solar storms.

It measured Earth's magnetic tail three times farther than previously recorded.

The spacecraft observed the interaction of the solar wind and comet Halley's magnetic tail. (Image: Comet Halley as see by the Giotto spacecraft)
People Spotlight
Charles Hall Charles Hall
"Charlie Hall's Pioneer 10 craft may be billions of miles from Earth, but his spirit will always be with us at NASA." Read More...
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 15 Aug 2013