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Mariner 8-9
Part of Mariner
Mariner 8, 9
Mariner 8, 9
Credit: NASA
American Mars orbiter. The Mariner Mars 71 mission was planned to consist of two spacecraft on complementary missions. Mars lander built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, USA. Launched 1971.

Status: Operational 1971. First Launch: 1971-05-09. Last Launch: 1971-05-30. Number: 2 . Gross mass: 985 kg (2,171 lb). Height: 0.44 m (1.44 ft).

The launch failure of Mariner 8 forced Mariner 9 to combine the mission objectives of both. The mission exceeded all primary photographic requirements by photo-mapping 100 percent of the planet's surface and taking the first close-up photographs of Mars' moons Deimos and Phobos. The spacecraft returned a total of 7329 images before it was turned off 349 days after entering orbit. The total cost of the mission was $137 million.

The Mariner 9 spacecraft was built on an octagonal magnesium frame, 45.7 cm deep and 138.4 cm across diagonally. Four solar panels, each 215 x 90 cm, extended out from the top of the frame. Each set of two solar panels spanned 6.89 meters from tip to tip. Also mounted on the top of the frame were two propulsion tanks, the maneuver engine, a 1.44 m long low gain antenna mast and a parabolic high gain antenna. A scan platform was mounted on the bottom of the frame, on which were attached the mutually bore-sighted science instruments (wide- and narrow-angle TV cameras, infrared radiometer, ultraviolet spectrometer, and infrared interferometer spectrometer). The overall height of the spacecraft was 2.28 m. The launch mass was 997.9 kg, of which 439.1 kg were expendables. The science instrumentation had a total mass of 63.1 kg. The electronics for communications and command and control were housed within the frame.

Spacecraft power was provided by a total of 14,742 solar cells which made up the 4 solar panels with a total area of 7.7 square meters. The solar panels could produce 800 W at Earth and 500 W at Mars. Power was stored in a 20 amp-hr nickel-cadmium battery. Propulsion was provided by a gimbaled engine capable of 1340 N thrust and up to 5 restarts. The propellant was monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. Two sets of 6 attitude control nitrogen jets were mounted on the ends of the solar panels. Attitude knowledge was provided by a Sun sensor, a Canopus star tracker, gyroscopes, an inertial reference unit, and an accelerometer. Passive thermal control was achieved through the use of louvers on the eight sides of the frame and thermal blankets.

Spacecraft control was through the central computer and sequencer which had an onboard memory of 512 words. The command system was programmed with 86 direct commands, 4 quantitative commands, and 5 control commands. Data was stored on a digital reel-to-reel tape recorder. The 168 meter 8-track tape could store 180 million bits recorded at 132 kbits/s. Playback could be done at 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1 kbit/s using two tracks at a time. Telecommunications were via dual S-band 10 W/20 W transmitters and a single receiver through the high gain parabolic antenna, the medium gain horn antenna, or the low gain omnidirectional antenna.


Scan platform supported an infrared radiometer, wide-angle TV, ultraviolet spectrometer, narrow-angle TV (1-2 km resolution), and IR interferometric spectrometer. The scan platform articulated 215 deg in azimuth and 69 deg in elevation.

More at: Mariner 8-9.

Family: Mars orbiter. Country: USA. Engines: RS-2101. Launch Vehicles: Atlas, Mars tactical rocket, Atlas SLV-3C Centaur. Projects: Mariner, Mars. Launch Sites: Cape Canaveral, Cape Canaveral LC36A, Cape Canaveral LC36B. Agency: JPL, NASA. Bibliography: 126, 2, 278, 296, 3895, 3900, 3901, 3902, 6, 12797.
Photo Gallery

Mariner 8Mariner 8
Credit: Manufacturer Image

1971 May 9 - . 01:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3C Centaur. FAILURE: Inadvertent Centaur electronic signal shut down stage early.. Failed Stage: U.
1971 May 30 - . 22:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3C Centaur.
1971 November 14 - .

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