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Mariner 07
Mariner 7 Mission to Mars

Mission Type: Flyby
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Centaur (AC-19 / Atlas 3C no. 5105C / Centaur D-1A)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, USA / launch complex 36A°
NASA Center: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Spacecraft Mass: 411.8
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) imaging system (two TV cameras); 2) infrared spectrometer; 3) ultraviolet spectrometer; 4) infrared radiometer; 5) celestial mechanics experiment; and 6) S-band occultation experiment
Spacecraft Dimensions: octagonal frame: 138.4 cm diagonally, 45.7 cm deep; deployed solar panels (tip to tip): 5.7 m; height: 3.35 m
Spacecraft Power: 4 solar panels and a 1200 W-hr rechargeable silver-zinc battery for backup power
Maximum Power: 800 W near Earth, 449 W at Mars
Antenna Diameter: 1 m diameter (high-gain parabolic antenna)
S-Band Data Rate: Channel A (engineering data): 8 1/3 or 33 1/3 bps; Channel B (scientific data): 66 2/3 or 270 bps; Channel C (science data): 16,200 bps
Maximum Data Rate: 16,200 bps (channel C, science data)
Project Manager: Harris M. Schurmeier
Principal Scientists: Dr. John A. Stallkamp (Project Scientist)
Total Cost: total research, development, launch, and support costs for the Mariner series (Mariners 1 through 10): $554 million
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,

Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.

Identical to Mariner 6, Mariner 7 had a similar mission of flying by Mars. After Mariner 6 had returned intriguing photos of Mars's south polar cap, controllers reprogrammed Mariner 7's control system to increase the number of scans of the south pole from 25 to 33.

Following a perfect midcourse correction on the way to Mars on 8 April 1969, on 30 July 1969, just 7 hours before Mariner 6 was scheduled to fly by Mars, the deep space tracking station at Johannesburg, South Africa, lost contact with the spacecraft's high-gain antenna. One of two stations in Madrid, Spain, was diverted from its original mission of tracking Pioneer 8 and joined the search for Mariner 7. Fortunately, the Pioneer station at Goldstone in California's Mojave Desert picked up faint signals from the spacecraft. Controllers sent commands to Mariner 7 to switch to the low-gain antenna, which worked well afterwards.

Despite problems with positional calibration, Mariner 7 recorded 93 far-encounter and 33 near-encounter images of the planet, showing heavily cratered terrain very similar to images recorded by Mariner 6. The closest approach to Mars was at 05:00:49 UT on 5 August 1969, at a distance of 3,430 kilometers. Oddly, despite the high resolution of 300 meters, Mariner 7 found the center of Hellas to be devoid of craters.

The spacecraft found a pressure of 3.5 millibars and a temperature of -90°F at 59° south latitude and 28° east longitude in the Hellespontus region, suggesting that this area was elevated about 6 kilometers above the average terrain. One photo from Mariner 7 showed the moon Phobos. Although surface features were not visible, the picture clearly showed the moon to be irregularly shaped.

Key Dates
27 Mar 1969:  Launch (22:22:01 UT)
5 Aug 1969:  Mars Flyby (05:00:49 UT)
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Mariner 07 Facts Mariners 6 and 7 were twin spacecraft.

Together they took close up photographs of about 20 percent of the Martian surface.

Mariner 7 found Mars' moon Phobos was irregularly-shaped.
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010