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State: Spacecraft failure

Place: Mars

Operator: OKB-1



Mission Ending

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending." - Jim Henson


Kind: OKB-1


"Requesting permission for flyby." Maverick - Top Gun


"You’re going very fast when you’re on orbit, going around the world once every hour and a half." - Robert Crippen


"The journey, not the arrival, matters; the voyage, not the landing." - Paul Theroux

Mars 1, also known as 1962 Beta Nu 1, Mars 2MV-4 and Sputnik 23, was an automatic interplanetary station launched in the direction of Mars on November 1, 1962, the first of the Soviet Mars probe program, with the intent of flying by the planet at a distance of about 11,000 km (6,800 mi). It was designed to image the surface and send back data on cosmic radiation, micrometeoroid impacts and Mars' magnetic field, radiation environment, atmospheric structure, and possible organic compounds. After leaving Earth orbit, the spacecraft and the Molniya (rocket) booster fourth stage separated and the solar panels were deployed. Early telemetry indicated that there was a leak in one of the gas valves in the orientation system so the spacecraft was transferred to gyroscopic stabilization. It made sixty-one radio transmissions, initially at two-day intervals and later at five days, containing a large amount of interplanetary data. On 21 March 1963, when the spacecraft was at a distance of 106,760,000 km (66,340,000 mi) from Earth on its way to Mars, communications ceased, probably due to failure of the spacecraft's antenna orientation system. Mars 1's closest approach to Mars probably occurred on June 19, 1963 at a distance of approximately 193,000 km (120,000 mi), after which the spacecraft entered an orbit around the Sun.