Mars 2 and Mars 3 Were Brilliant Opening Salvos In The Race For Space.



Oddly, the first Martian artificial satellite was inserted successfully into Martian Orbit 46 years ago.


Mars 2 was launched by the Soviet Union in 1971. The potent Russian empire had put a satellite into Martian orbit, hundreds of millions of miles away. Mars 2 was a sacrament to the missile technology that so counted during the Cold War. Mars 3 followed Mars 2 by only 11 days went into Martian orbit and lasted from December 1971 until August 1972. Both Mars 2 and Mars 3 were satellite lander packages. The lander from mars 2 crashed onto the planet surface when the vehicle parachutes failed to deploy.


Mars 2 consisted of a landing capsule that was 1.2 meter diameter and 2.9 meter conical aerodynamic braking shield and retro rockets. It’s mass was 1210 kg all controlled by gas operated micro engines and pressurized nitrogen packets for attitude control. Foam would absorb the shock of the landing and for petals would open righting to ship to reveal the instrumentation. It was equipped with two TVs and a mass spectrometer.



Petals opened to expose the instrumentation panel.


Descent Package




The lander was battery powered.





NASA launched Mariner 9 in 1971 and beta Mars 2 and Mars 3 to the orbit to become the first man made object in orbit around Mars. It sent back 7329 photos and operated for a year.


Mars 5 was launched by the Soviet Union in July of 1973 followed soon thereafter by the US ultra successful Viking 1 and Viking 2 landers. So there are 14 man made satellites orbiting Mars and six of them are not only active, one has been working for 15 years, the Mars Odyssey, launched in April 2001.



Mars-2, launched 1971 May 19, USSR, currently derelict.

Mars-3, launched 1971 May 28, USSR, currently derelict.

Mariner 9, launched 1971 May 30, USA, currently derelict.

Mars-5, launched 1973 July 25, USSR, currently derelict.

Viking 1, launched 1975 August 20, USA, currently derelict.

Viking 2, launched 1975 September 9, USA, currently derelict.

Phobos-2, launched 1988 July 12, USSR, currently derelict.

Mars Global Surveyor, launched 1996 November 7, USA, currently derelict.


2001 Mars Odyssey, launched 2001 April 7, USA, operating.

Mars Express, launched 2003 June 2, European Space Agency (launched by Russia), operating.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched 2005 August 12, USA, operating.

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan, launched 2013 November 5, from India, operating.

(MAVEN), Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution launched 2013 November 18, USA, operating.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, launched 2016 March 14, ESA and Russia, operating.







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