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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...
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Last Updated: 30 Nov 2010