Soviet Union launches Mars 1

On Nov. 1, 1962, the Soviet Union launched the Mars 1 spacecraft on a mission to fly by the Red Planet. While it did end up flying by Mars, the mission was not exactly a success. 



a clock sitting in the dark: A model of Mars 1, a Mars flyby spacecraft launched to the Red Planet by the Soviet Union on Nov. 1, 1962.


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A model of Mars 1, a Mars flyby spacecraft launched to the Red Planet by the Soviet Union on Nov. 1, 1962.

A Brief History of Mars Missions

After Mars 1separated from the rocket, it deployed its solar panels and started cruising toward Mars. When mission controllers were checking out the telemetry it transmitted back to Earth, they found out that Mars 1 had sprung a leak in one of the gas valves that controls the spacecraft’s orientation. 

And without a working orientation system, Mars 1 would have a hard time pointing its antennas in the right direction. It lost contact with Earth when it was about halfway to Mars.  

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