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Mariner 3-4
Part of Mariner
Mariner 3, 4
Mariner 3, 4
Credit: NASA
American Mars flyby probe. This spacecraft completed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. Mars flyby satellite built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, USA. Launched 1964.

Status: Operational 1964. First Launch: 1964-11-05. Last Launch: 1964-11-28. Number: 2 . Gross mass: 260 kg (570 lb).

It was designed to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to earth. Other mission objectives were to perform field and particle measurements in interplanetary space in the vicinity of Mars and to provide experience in and knowledge of the engineering capabilities for interplanetary flights of long duration.

The spacecraft was 3-axis stabilized using cold gas thrusters. Four deployed solar panels were kept oriented toward the Sun. S-Band communications used either the low gain or high gain antennas. The spacecraft consisted of an octagonal magnesium frame, 127 cm across diagonally and 45.7 cm high. Four solar panels were attached to the top of the frame with an end-to-end span of 688 cm, including solar pressure vanes which extended from the ends. A 116.8 cm diameter high gain parabolic antenna was mounted at the top of the frame as well. An omnidirectional low gain antenna was mounted on a 223.5 cm tall mast next to the high gain antenna. The overall height of the spacecraft was 289 cm. At the bottom center of the spacecraft the television camera was mounted on a scan platform. The octagonal frame housed the electronic equipment, cabling, midcourse propulsion system, and attitude control gas supplies and regulators.

Power was supplied by 28,224 solar cells contained in the four 176 x 90 cm solar panels, which provided 310 W at Mars. A rechargeable 1200 W-hr silver-zinc battery was also used for maneuvers and backup. Monopropellant hydrazine was used for propulsion, via a 4-jet vane vector control 222-N motor installed on one of the sides of the octagonal structure. Attitude control was provided by 12 cold nitrogen gas jets mounted on the ends of the solar panels and three gyros. Solar pressure vanes, each with an area of 0.65 square meters, were attached to the tips of the solar panels. Positional information was provided by four Sun sensors, and an Earth, a Mars, and a Canopus sensor.

Telecommunications equipment consisted of a dual, S-band 7-W triode cavity amp/10-W TWTA transmitter and a single receiver which could send and receive data via the low- and high-gain antennas at 8 1/3 or 33 1/3 bps. Data could also be stored on a tape recorder with a capacity of 5.24 million bits for later transmission. All operations were controlled by a command subsystem which could process any of 29 direct command words or 3 quantitative word commands for midcourse maneuvers. The central computer and sequencer operated stored time-sequence commands using a 38.4 kHz synchronization frequency as a time reference. Temperature control was achieved through the use of adjustable louvers mounted on six of the electronics assemblies, multilayer insulating blankets, polished aluminum shields, and surface treatments.

Most of the science experiments were mounted on the outside of the frame. Science instruments, in addition to the TV camera, were a magnetometer, dust detector, cosmic ray telescope, trapped radiation detector, solar plasma probe, and ionization chamber/Geiger counter. The tape recorder stored 21 pictures.

More at: Mariner 3-4.

Family: Mars flyby. Country: USA. Launch Vehicles: Atlas, Mars tactical rocket, Atlas Agena D. Projects: Mariner, Mars. Launch Sites: Cape Canaveral, Cape Canaveral LC12, Cape Canaveral LC13. Agency: JPL, NASA. Bibliography: 2, 278, 296, 3874, 3876, 3877, 3878, 3879, 3880, 3881, 3882, 3885, 3886, 3892, 3893, 3898, 3899, 3904, 3906, 6, 12794.
Photo Gallery

Mariner 3Mariner 3
Credit: Manufacturer Image

1964 November 5 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. FAILURE: Launch fairing failure. Failed Stage: S.
1964 November 28 - . 14:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D.
1965 July 14 - .

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