Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mars



marsx2.jpg
Mars probe
Mars probe configuration with double re-entry vehicles believed planned for the cancelled 1969 or 1975 launch series.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Mars 3 spacecraft
Mars 3 spacecraft Aeroshell is removed to show lander payload.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Fobos Hopper
'Hopper' surface probe that was to have been deployed on the surface of Phobos on the Fobos-1/2 missions
Credit: Andy Salmon
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Mars 2 / 3 lander
Mars 2 / 3 descent vehicle, cross section through heat shield, showing petals deployed.
Credit: Andy Salmon
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Mars 2 / 3 lander
Deployable instrument from Mars-2/3
Credit: Andy Salmon
Soviet Mars probes were intended to photograph Mars on flyby trajectories, followed by Mars orbit, landing, and Phobos reconnaisance missions. Essentially all of the series failed.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Mars 1M Russian Mars flyby probe. 2 launches, 1960.10.10 (Mars probe 1M s/n 1 failure.) to 1960.10.14 (Mars probe 1M s/n 2 failure.). Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. More...
  • Mars 2MV-4 Russian Mars flyby probe. 2 launches, 1962.10.24 (Sputnik 22) to 1962.11.01 (Mars 1). Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. More...
  • Mars 2MV-3 Russian Venus probe. One launch, 1962.11.04, Sputnik 24. Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. More...
  • Venera 3MV-1A Russian Venus probe. 2 launches, 1963.11.11 (Cosmos 21) to 1964.02.19 (3MV-1A). More...
  • Venera 3MV-1 Russian Venus probe. 3 launches, 1964.02.19 (3MV-1 No. 2 SA) to 1964.04.02 (Zond 1). More...
  • Mars 3MV-4A Russian Mars flyby probe. 2 launches, 1964.11.30 (Zond 2) to 1965.07.18 (Zond 3). Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Elaboration of station systems and scientific research in interplanetary space. More...
  • Mars M-69 Russian Mars orbiter. 2 launches, 1969.03.27 (M-69 s/n 521) to 1969.04.02 (M-69 s/n 522). Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars. More...
  • Mars M-71 Russian Mars lander. 3 launches, 1971.05.10 (Cosmos 419) to 1971.05.28 (Mars 3). Mars spacecraft built by Lavochkin for 1971 campaign. The spacecraft consists of a bus/orbiter module and an attached descent/lander module. More...
  • Mars M-73 Russian Mars lander. 4 launches, 1973.07.21 (Mars 4) to 1973.08.09 (Mars 7). The M-73 spacecraft series was built for 1973 Mars missions. More...
  • Fobos 1F Russian Mars orbiter. 5 launches, 1988.07.07 (Phobos 1) to 1988.07.12 (1F PPS). The 1F spacecraft was flown on the Phobos mission to Mars, consisting of 2 nearly identical spacecraft. More...
  • Mars M1 Russian Mars orbiter. 5 launches, 1996.11.16 (Mars-96 (Mars 8)) to (Mars-96 (Mars 8)). More...

See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Molniya 8K78 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Four stage derivative of the R-7 ICBM developed on a crash-program basis in 1960 for Soviet lunar and planetary deep space probe missions. The third stage found later use in the Voskhod and Soyuz launchers. By the 1970's mature versions of the launch vehicle were used almost entirely for launch of Molniya communications satellites and Oko missile early warning spacecraft into elliptical, 12-hour earth orbits. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya, in variants with Blocks ML, 2BL, or SO-L third stages according to payload. More...
  • Proton-K/D Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was originally designed to send manned circumlunar spacecraft into translunar trajectory. Guidance to the Block D stage must be supplied by spacecraft. The design was proposed on 8 September 1965 by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon. The Korolev design was selected, and first flight came on 10 March 1967. The crash lunar program led to a poor launch record. Following a protracted ten year test period, the booster finally reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...
  • Proton-K/D-2 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was a modification of the original Block D / 11S824M for launch of late 1980's Lavochkin OKB probes on missions to Mars. Guidance to the Block D-2 stage must be supplied by spacecraft. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...
  • RVSN Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Raketniye Voiska Stratigcheskovo Naznacheniya (Russian Strategic Rocket Forces), Russia. More...
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...
  • UNKS Russian agency. Directorate of the Commander of Space Assets, Russia. More...
  • VKS Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Military Space Force, Russia. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Mars Chronology


1960 October 10 - . 14:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 L1-4M. FAILURE: At T+300.9 sec, the launcher went out of control and the destruct command was given at T+324.2 sec - the engine of Stage 3 cut off after 13.32 s of burning.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Mars probe 1M s/n 1 failure. - . Payload: 1M s/n 1. Mass: 640 kg (1,410 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars 1M. Decay Date: 1960-10-10 . COSPAR: F601010A. This was the Soviet Union's first attempt at a planetary probe. Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The possible cause lay in resonance vibrations of upper stages during Stage 2 burning, which led to break of contact in the command potentiometer of the gyrohorizon. As a result a pitch control malfunctioned and the launcher began to veer off the desired ascent profile. On exceeding 7 degrees of veering in pitch, the control system failed. The upper stage with the payload reached an altitude of 120 km before burning up on re-entry into the atmosphere above East Siberia.

1960 October 14 - . 13:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 L1-5M. FAILURE: At T+290 sec Stage 3's engine 8D715K failed to ignite because a LOX leak froze kerosene in the fuel inlet to the pump on the launch pad due to a faulty LOX valve seal.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Mars probe 1M s/n 2 failure. - . Payload: 1M s/n 2. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars 1M. Decay Date: 1960-10-14 . COSPAR: F601014A. Summary: Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. This was the Soviet Union's second attempt at a planetary probe. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere..

1962 October 24 - . 17:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 T103-15. FAILURE: 16 seconds after ignition of Stage 4, Block L's S1.5400A1 engine exploded. A lubricant leak resulted in the jamming of a shaft in the turbopump gearbox and break up of the turbine.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Sputnik 22 - . Payload: 2MV-4 s/n 3. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-4. Decay Date: 1962-10-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 443 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Iota-1. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi). Perigee: 202 km (125 mi). Inclination: 65.1000 deg. Period: 89.10 min. Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The spacecraft broke into many pieces, some of which apparently remained in Earth orbit for a few days. This occurred during the Cuban missile crisis and was picked up by U.S. military radar installations, who originally feared it might by the start of a Soviet nuclear attack.

1962 November 1 - . 16:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 T103-16.
  • Mars 1 - . Payload: 2MV-4 s/n 4 / Sputnik 23. Mass: 894 kg (1,970 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-4. USAF Sat Cat: 450 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Nu-3. Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Launched from Sputnik 23 in a 157 x 238 km, 65 degree parking orbit. Sixty-one radio transmissions were held in which a large amount of data was collected. On March 21, 1963, when the spacecraft was at a distance of 106 million km communications ceased, possibly due to a malfunction in the spacecraft orientation system. Mars 1 closest approach to Mars occurred on June 19, 1963 at a distance of approximately 193,000 km, after which the spacecraft entered a heliocentric orbit. Announced mission: Prolonged exploration of outer space during flight to the planet Mars; establishment of inter-planetary radio communications; photgraphing of the planet Mars and subsquent radio-transmission to Earth of the photographs of the surface of Mars thus obtained.

1962 November 4 - . 15:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 T103-17. FAILURE: After T+260 sec, a malfunction of the pressurization system of the central sustainer led to cavitation in the oxidizer pipeline and LOX pump, followed at T+292s by the fuel pump.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Sputnik 24 - . Payload: 2MV-3 s/n 1. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-3. Decay Date: 1962-11-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 451 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Xi-1. Apogee: 170 km (100 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 87.90 min. Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Although the escape stage and payload reached orbit, the strong third stage vibrations shook a fuse loose from its mount in the main nozzle of the escape stage Block L's engine. The engine could not be ignited and remained in Earth orbit. It decayed about two months after insertion.

1963 November 11 - . 06:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 G103-18. FAILURE: During unpowered coast in parking orbit the escape stage Block L lost stable attitude. Engine ignition occurred in an incorrect direction.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Cosmos 21 - . Payload: 3MV-1A s/n 1. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: Korolev. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1A. Decay Date: 1963-11-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 687 . COSPAR: 1963-044A. Apogee: 231 km (143 mi). Perigee: 192 km (119 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit as Cosmos-51 and burnt up on re-entry..

1964 February 19 - . 05:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78M. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78M T15000-19. FAILURE: Second stage failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • 3MV-1A - . Payload: 3MV-1A s/n 2. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1A. Decay Date: 1964-02-19 . COSPAR: F640219A.

1964 November 30 - . 13:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Zond 2 - . Payload: 3MV-4A s/n 2. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: Korolev. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars 3MV-4A. USAF Sat Cat: 945 . COSPAR: 1964-078C. Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Zond 2 was launched from an earth parking orbit towards Mars to test space-borne systems and to carry out scientific investigations. Zond 2 carried six electric rocket engines of plasma type that served as actuators of the attitude control system. The communications system failed during April 1965. The spacecraft flew by Mars on August 6, 1965, at a distance of 1500 km.

1965 July 18 - . 14:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Zond 3 - . Payload: 3MV-4A s/n 3. Mass: 959 kg (2,114 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars 3MV-4A. USAF Sat Cat: 1454 . COSPAR: 1965-056A. Zond 3 was towards the moon and interplanetary space. The spacecraft was equipped with a TV system that provided automatic inflight film processing. On July 20, during lunar flyby, 25 pictures of very good quality were taken of the lunar farside from distances of 11,570 to 9960 km. The photos covered 19,000,000 km square of the lunar surface. Photo transmissions by facsimile were returned to earth from a distance of 2,200,000 km on July 29 and were retransmitted later from a distance of 31,500,000 km, thus proving the ability of the communications system. After the lunar flyby, Zond 3 continued space exploration in a heliocentric orbit. Those pictures showed clearly the heavily cratered nature of the surface. This mission dramatized the advances in space photography that the U.S.S.R. had made since its first far-side effort six years earlier.

1969 March 27 - . 10:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 240-01. FAILURE: T+51s payload shroud failed. Second stage continued but third stage failed to ignite.. Failed Stage: S.
  • M-69 s/n 521 - . Payload: M-69 s/n 521. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-69. Decay Date: 1969-03-27 . COSPAR: F690327A. Summary: Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars, together with a landing probe..

1969 April 2 - . 10:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 233-01. FAILURE: First stage - 1 x RD-253 fire beginning at T+ 0.02 sec, rocket crashed near pad.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • M-69 s/n 522 - . Payload: M-69 s/n 522. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-69. Decay Date: 1969-04-02 . COSPAR: F690402A. Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars, together with a landing probe. Further Mars launches during the 1969 launch window were cancelled when this attempt resulted in a major accident, which almost wiped out all of the leaders of the space industry. The Proton rocket lifted off, but one engine failed. The vehicle flew at an altitude of 50 m horizontally, finally exploding only a short distance from the launch pad, spraying the whole complex with poisonous propellants that were quickly spread by the wind. Everyone took off in their autos to escape, but which direction to go? Finally it was decided that the launch point was the safest, but this proved to be even more dangerous - the second stage was still intact and liable to explode. The contamination was so bad that there was no way to clean up - the only possibility was just to wait for rain to wash it away. This didn't happen until the Mars launch window was closed, so the first such probe was not put into space until 1971. This accident also severely damaged plans to divert attention from America's Apollo programme during the rest of 1969. 10-12 UR-500K launches had been intended to land on the moon lunar soil return and rover robots to supplement the N1 launches.

1971 May 10 - . 16:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 253-01. FAILURE: No Block D ignition due wrong timer setting.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Cosmos 419 - . Payload: M-71 s/n 170. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-71. Decay Date: 1971-05-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 5221 . COSPAR: 1971-042A. Apogee: 187 km (116 mi). Perigee: 134 km (83 mi). Inclination: 51.5000 deg. Period: 87.70 min. Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars. Rocket block failed to reignite in Earth Orbit. It is widely believed this spacecraft was launched with the primary purpose of overtaking Mariner 8, which had been launched (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) two days earlier, and becoming the first Mars orbiter. The Proton booster successfully put the spacecraft into low (174 km x 159 km) Earth parking orbit with an inclination of 51.4 degrees, but the Block D stage 4 failed to function due to a bad ignition timer setting (the timer, which was supposed to start ignition 1.5 hours after orbit was erroneously set for 1.5 years.) The orbit decayed and the spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere 2 days later on 12 May 1971. The mission was designated Cosmos 419.

1971 May 19 - . 16:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 255-01.
  • Mars 2 - . Payload: M-71 s/n 171. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-71. USAF Sat Cat: 5234 . COSPAR: 1971-045A. Apogee: 25,000 km (15,000 mi). Perigee: 1,380 km (850 mi). Inclination: 48.9000 deg. Period: 1,080.00 min. Mars probe intended to conduct of a series of scientific investigations of the planet Mars and the space around it. Parameters are for Mars orbit. Mid-course corrections were made on 17 June and 20 November. Mars 2 released the descent module (1971-045D) 4.5 hours before reaching Mars on 27 November 1971. The descent system malfunctioned and the lander crashed at 45 deg S, 302 deg W, delivering the Soviet Union coat of arms to the surface. Meanwhile, the orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a 1380 x 24,940 km, 18 hour orbit about Mars with an inclination of 48.9 degrees. Scientific instruments were generally turned on for about 30 minutes near periapsis. Data was sent back for many months. It was announced that Mars 2 and 3 had completed their missions by 22 August 1972. On-orbit dry mass: 2265 kg. Had the lander survived, data would have been relayed to the earth via the orbiter.

1971 May 28 - . 15:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 249-01.
  • Mars 3 - . Payload: M-71 s/n 172. Mass: 4,643 kg (10,236 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-71. USAF Sat Cat: 5252 . COSPAR: 1971-049A. Apogee: 214,500 km (133,200 mi). Perigee: 1,528 km (949 mi). Inclination: 60.0000 deg. Period: 18,243.00 min. Mars probe intended to conduct of a series of scientific investigations of the planet Mars and the space around it. Parameters are for Mars orbit. The Mars 3 orbiter also carried a French-built experiment which was not carried on Mars 2. Called Spectrum 1, the instrument measured solar radiation at metric wavelengths in conjunction with Earth-based receivers to study the cause of solar outbursts. The Spectrum 1 antenna was mounted on one of the solar panels. A mid-course correction was made on 8 June. The descent module (COSPAR 1971-049F) was released at 09:14 GMT on 2 December 1971 about 4.5 hours before reaching Mars. Through aerodynamic braking, parachutes, and retro-rockets, the lander achieved a soft landing at 45 S, 158 W and began operations. However, after 20 sec the instruments stopped working for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, the orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a long 11-day period orbit about Mars with an inclination thought to be similar to that of Mars 2 (48.9 degrees). Data was sent back for many months. It was announced that Mars 2 and 3 had completed their missions by 22 August 1972.

1973 July 21 - . 19:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 261-01.
  • Mars 4 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 52S. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6742 . COSPAR: 1973-047A. Failed; did not enter Martian orbit as planned; intended to be a Mars orbiter mission. Mars 4 reached Mars on 10 February 1974. Due to use of helium in preflight tests of the computer chips, which resulted in degradation of the chips during the voyage to Mars, the retro-rockets never fired to slow the craft into Mars orbit. Mars 4 flew by the planet at a range of 2,200 km. It returned one swath of pictures and some radio occultation data. Final heliocentric orbit 1.02 x 1.63 AU, 2.2 degree inclination, 556 day period.

1973 July 25 - . 18:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 262-01.
  • Mars 5 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 53S. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6754 . COSPAR: 1973-049A. Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars. Parameters are for Mars orbit. Mars 5 reached Mars on 12 February 1974 and was inserted into a 1760 km x 32,586 km orbit. Due to computer chip failures the orbiter operated only a few days and returned atmospheric data and images of a small portion of the Martian southern hemisphere.

1973 August 5 - . 17:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 281-01.
  • Mars 6 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 50P. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6768 . COSPAR: 1973-052A. Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Total fueled launch mass of the lander and orbital bus was 3260 kg. It reached Mars on 12 March 1974, separated from the bus, and entered the atmosphere, where a parachute opened, slowing the descent. As the probe descended through the atmosphere it transmitted data for 150 seconds, representing the first data returned from the atmosphere of Mars. Unfortunately, the data were largely unreadable due to a flaw in a computer chip which led to degradation of the system during its journey to Mars. When the retro-rockets fired for landing, contact was lost with the craft. Mars 6 landed at about 24 degrees south, 25 degrees west in the Margaritifer Sinus region of Mars. Bus ended up in a final heliocentric orbit 1.01 x 1.67 AU, 2.2 degree inclination, 567 day period.

1973 August 9 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 281-02.
  • Mars 7 - . Payload: M-73 s/n 51P. Mass: 4,650 kg (10,250 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M-73. USAF Sat Cat: 6776 . COSPAR: 1973-053A. Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Mars 7 reached Mars on 9 March 1974. Due to a problem in the operation of one of the onboard systems (attitude control or retro-rockets) the landing probe separated prematurely and missed the planet by 1,300 km. The early separation was probably due to a computer chip error which resulted in degradation of the systems during the trip to Mars. Ended up in a final heliocentric orbit 1.01 x 1.69 AU, 2.2 degree inclination, 574 day period.

1988 July 7 - . 17:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-2. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-2 356-02.
  • Phobos 1 - . Payload: 1F s/n 101. Mass: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. USAF Sat Cat: 19281 . COSPAR: 1988-058A. Apogee: 130,504 km (81,091 mi). Perigee: 2,628 km (1,632 mi). Inclination: 50.8000 deg. Period: 3,267.73 min. Second of two missions to Mars' moon Phobos; carried 2 landers; planned to enter Mars orbit. Phobos 1 operated nominally until an expected communications session on 2 September 1988 failed to occur. The failure of controllers to regain contact with the spacecraft was traced to an error in the software uploaded on 29/30 August which had deactivated the attitude thrusters. This resulted in a loss of lock on the Sun, resulting in the spacecraft orienting the solar arrays away from the Sun, thus depleting the batteries. Left in solar Orbit (Heliocentric).
  • 1F DPS - . Payload: Dolgozhivushchaya PS. Nation: USSR. Agency: UNKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. USAF Sat Cat: 19281 . COSPAR: 1988-058xx.

1988 July 12 - . 17:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/40. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-2. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-2 356-01.
  • Phobos 2 - . Payload: 1F s/n 102. Mass: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. USAF Sat Cat: 19287 . COSPAR: 1988-059A. Apogee: 79,750 km (49,550 mi). Perigee: 850 km (520 mi). Inclination: 1.0000 deg. Period: 4,590.00 min. First of two Mars missions to Mars' moon Phobos; carried two landers; entered Mars orbit 1/29/89; failed 3/27/89; extremely limited science data. Phobos 2 operated nominally throughout its cruise and Mars orbital insertion phases, gathering data on the Sun, interplanetary medium, Mars, and Phobos. Shortly before the final phase of the mission, during which the spacecraft was to approach within 50 m of Phobos' surface and release two landers, one a mobile 'hopper', the other a stationary platform, contact with Phobos 2 was lost. The mission ended when the spacecraft signal failed to be successfully reacquired on 27 March 1989. The cause of the failure was determined to be a malfunction of the on-board computer.
  • 1F DPS - . Payload: Dolgozhivushchaya PS. Nation: USSR. Agency: UNKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. USAF Sat Cat: 19287 . COSPAR: 1988-059xx.
  • 1F PPS - . Payload: Prigayushchaya PS. Nation: USSR. Agency: UNKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft: Fobos 1F. USAF Sat Cat: 19287 . COSPAR: 1988-059xx.

1996 November 16 - . 20:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-2. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-2 392-02. FAILURE: No second Block D-2 ignition.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Mars-96 (Mars 8) - . Payload: M1 s/n 520. Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mars M1. Decay Date: 1996-11-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 24656 . COSPAR: 1996-064A. Apogee: 340 km (210 mi). Perigee: 110 km (60 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. The Mars 96 spacecraft was launched into Earth orbit, but failed to achieve insertion into Mars cruise trajectory and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at about 00:45 to 01:30 GMT on 17 November 1996 and crashed within a presumed 320 km by 80 km area which includes parts of the Pacific Ocean, Chile, and Bolivia. The Russian Mars 96 mission was designed to send an orbiter, two small autonomous stations, and two surface penetrators to Mars.
  • Penetrator 1 - . Payload: PN s/n 520/4. Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.
  • Penetrator 2 - . Payload: PN s/n 520/5. Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.
  • MAS 2 - . Payload: MAS s/n 520/2. Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.
  • MAS 1 - . Payload: MAS s/n 520/1. Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Program: Mars. Spacecraft: Mars M1. COSPAR: 1996-064xx.

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