National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Mariner 1
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Mariner 01
Mariner 1 Mission to Venus

Goals: Mariner 1 was the first attempt by the United States to send a spacecraft to Venus. It was to fly by the planet at a distance of about 29,000 km (about 18,000 miles), transmitting a variety of scientific data but no pictures.

Accomplishments: None. A problem with the guidance system shortly after launch made steering impossible and directed the spacecraft toward a crash, possibly in North Atlantic shipping lanes or in an inhabited area. The Range Safety Officer issued a destruct command about 5 minutes after launch, just 6 seconds before the spacecraft would have separated from its booster, after which the launch vehicle could not have been destroyed.

Key Dates
22 Jul 1962:  Launch (09:21:23 UT)
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Mariner 01 Facts This was the first U.S. attempt to reach Venus.

The spacecraft design was based on the Ranger spacecraft that pioneered early U.S. lunar exploration.

A missing hyphen in coded computer instructions contributed to the guidance problem behind the mission's failure.
People Spotlight
Al Hibbs Al Hibbs
Al Hibbs decided as a five-year-old that he wanted to go to the Moon. He did qualify as an astronaut, but his legacy is in robotic exploration. 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: 30 Nov 2010