Mariner 9

Mars Orbiter

Mariner 9 was a NASA spacecraft. It was the ninth spacecraft in the Mariner programme. It was sent to study and orbit the planet Mars. It was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. Mariner 9 was launched on May 30, 1971 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Mariner 9 reached Mars on November 13, 1971, after a ~170 day flight. The spacecraft was sent to map 70 % of the surface of Mars and to study the temperature changes of the Martian atmosphere and surface. When it arrived, a dust storm hid the surface of Mars. After a few months the dust settled and Mariner 9 discovered the Valles Marineris.

Mariner 9
The Mariner 9 spacecraft
Mission typeMars orbiter
OperatorNASA / JPL
COSPAR ID1971-051A
SATCAT no.5261
Mission duration1 year, 4 months, 27 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerJet Propulsion Laboratory
Launch mass997.9 kilograms (2,200 lb)
Dry mass558.8 kilograms (1,232 lb)
Power500 watts
Start of mission
Launch dateMay 30, 1971, 22:23:04 (1971-05-30UTC22:23:04Z) UTC
RocketAtlas SLV-3C Centaur-D
Launch siteCape Canaveral LC-36B
End of mission
DeactivatedOctober 27, 1972 (1972-10-28)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemAreocentric
Periareion1,650 kilometres (1,030 mi)
Apoareion16,860 kilometres (10,480 mi)
Period719.47 minutes
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertionNovember 14, 1971, 00:42:00 UTC