Mission Name

Mission Objective

Launch Date, Vehicle

Target Encounter Dates
Spacecraft Mass (kg)
Trajectory Info


Web References

Mariner 10

Observe environment, atmosphere, surface and body characteristics of Mercury and Venus

11/3/73, Atlas/Centaur

2/5/74 )Venus GA); 3/29/74 (first Mercury pass) 503 wet, 29 fuel Venus GA to reach Mercury; flew by Mercury 3 times

First craft to Mercury. First to use GA. First to visit 2 planets


Pioneer Venus

Study atmosphere, ionosphere, topography, gravity of Venus

5/20/78, Atlas/Centaur

12/4/78 (Venus orbit insertion) 517 Direct flight



International Cometary Explorer (ICE)

Study solar radiation and plasma

8/12/78, Delta

9/11/85 (closest to Giacobini-Zinner) 390 Halo orbit around Earth-Sun L1

Also known as ISEE-3. First in halo orbit. First craft ste4ered by chaotic control. After completing primary mission (1981), intercepted comet Giacobini-Zinner


Venera 15

Study surface of Venus

6/2/83, Proton

10/10/83 (Venus orbit insertion) 4000 Direct flight

Last ones in series of Soviet spacecraft. Tandem radar mission with Venera 16


Vega 1

Study surface and atmosphere of Venus; observe comet Halley

12/15/84, Proton-8K82K

3/6/86 (Halley pass at 8890 km) 4920 Venus GA (6/11/85)

Balloon and lander for Venus. Soviet/French mission.

Vega 2

Study surface and atmosphere of Venus; observe comet Halley

12/21/84, Proton-8K82K

3/9/86 (Halley pass at 8030 km) 4920 Venus GA (6/15/85)

Balloon and lander for Venus. Soviet/French mission.



Observe comet Halley; technology testbed

1/7/85, M-3SII-1

3/11/86 (Halley pass at 7 million km) 138 Direct flight

First Japanese interplanetary probe. Also named MS-T5




Study comet Halley

7/2/85, Ariane 1

3/13/86 (closest passing of comet Halley); 7/10/92 (passing of Grigg-Skjellerup) 960 wet, 583 dry Direct flight; Earth GA in 7/2/90 (after fulfilling primary objective)

ESA's first deep space mission. Passed Halley at 600 km. Mission extended for encounter with comet Grigg-Skjellerup (passed at 200 km, 1992)



Study comet Halley

8/18/85, M-3SII-2

3/8/86 (Halley pass at 152400 km) 140 Direct flight

Also named Planet-A



Study Venus surface, topography, gravity, geology

5/4/89, Shuttle/IUS

8/10/90 (Venus orbit insertion) 1035 dry, 3460 wet Direct flight; aerobraking

First use of aerobraking. Perished in Venus atmosphere on 10/11/94



Observation of solar polar regions from high latitudes

10/6/90, Shuttle/IUS/PAM-S

2/8/92 (Jupiter GA) in 3D heliocentric orbit 367 dry 3-dimensional GA at Jupiter

ESA/NASA mission. Maximum solar latitude 80.2 deg. Highest energy ever used




Observe solar wind and return particles to Earth

8/8/01, Delta II-7326

11/16/91 Halo orbit insertion; 9/8/04 Earth return Direct flight to Halo orbit around Earth-Sun L1; later around L2 for favorable Earth return conditions

NASA Discovery mission. Drogue parachutes failed during landing at Earth


Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER)

Observe physical phenomena at Mercury

8/3/04, Delta II-7925Heavy

3/18/11 Mercury orbit insertion 495 dry, 1093 wet 1 Earth GA, 2 Venus GAs, 3 Mercury GAs

First Mercury observations since Mariner 10 (1974-1975)


Venus Express

Study atmosphere of Venus

11/9/05, Soyuz-Fregat

4/11/06 Venus orbit insertion 1270 wet, 570 fuel Direct flight

Extended mission until 12/12.



Test technologies for lunar and interplanetary missions

1/24/90, M-3SII

3/19/90 first lunar pass 197 wet (incl 42 fuel, 12 for probe) Highly elliptical Earth orbit, 10 times past moon; excursion to EM L4 and L5

Alson known as MUSES-A. Carried small sub-satellite Hagoromo. Hiten crashed into Moon on 4/10/93



Study topography and geology of Moon; technology demonstrator

1/25/94, Titan IIG

2/19/94, leave lunar orbit on 5/5/94 Two Earth GAs

Extension to flyby of asteroid 1620 Geographos failed. Faster-better-cheaper approach. BMDO/NASA mission



Lunar Prospector

Mapping lunar resources and gravity and magnetic fields

1/7/98, Athena II

1/11/98 158 dry, 295 wet Direct flight

NASA Discovery mission



Test solar-electric propulsion; lunar science

9/27/03, Ariane 5

11/15/04 lunar orbit insertion 370 wet Ion thruster for primary propulsion; lunar GA

First European satellite to travel around Moon. Lunar impact on 9/3/06. Piggyback launch



Lunar exploration; technology demonstrator

9/14/07, H-IIA

10/3/07 insertion in lunar orbit 3020 wet Direct flight

Also known as Kaguya. Large satellite + 2 small piggyback satellites. Crashed into Moon on 6/10/09


Chang'e 1

Technology demonstrator; scientific lunar exploration

10/24/07, CZ-3A

11/5/07 lunar orbit insertion 2350 wet (half of which fuel) Direct flight

Crashed into Moon on 3/1/09


Chandrayaan 1

Hi-res remote sensing of Moon

10/22/08, PSLV-XL

11/8/08 in lunar orbit 523 dry, 1380 wet 5 apogee raising maneuvers

Mission ended on 8/29/09


Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter(LRO)

Identify landing sites and resources; measure radiation; technology demonstrator

6/18/09, Atlas V-401

6/23/09 1000 (dry) + 700 (fuel) Direct minimum-energy flight; lunar orbit insertion with 4 maneuvers

First mission in NASA's Vision for Space. Accompanied by LCROSS, to observe impact of Centaur upper stage


Pioneer 10

Explore Jupiter; safely cross asteroid belt

3/3/72, Atlas/Centaur/TE-364

12/2/73 (Jupiter flyby) 258 dry Direct flight to Jupiter; Jupiter flyby; first to escape Solar System

First to observe Jupiter. .First to travel through asteroid belt. Last signal detected on 1/23/03



Pioneer 11

Explore Jupiter and Saturn (incl ring system)

4/6/73, Atlas/Centaur/TE-364

12/2/74 (Jupiter GA), 9/1/79 (Saturn flyby) 259 dry Direct flight to Jupiter; Jupiter GA, Saturn flyby

First to observe Saturn + ring system.


Viking 1

Mars orbital observation, landing, surface sample analysis; look for life

8/20/75, Tital-IIIE/Centaur

6/19/76 (Mars orbit insertion), 7/20/76 (lander touchdown) Orbiter: 2328 wet, 1445 fuel. Lander: 657 wet, 85 fuel Direct flight

Orbiter+lander. No sign of life detected


Viking 2

Mars orbital observation, landing, surface sample analysis; look for life

9/9/75, Tital-IIIE/Centaur

8/7/76 (Mars orbit insertion), 9/3/76 (lander touchdown) Orbiter: 2328 wet, 1445 fuel. Lander: 657 wet, 85 fuel Direct flight

Orbiter+lander. No sign of life detected

Voyager 2 Close Jupiter and outer planet observations during flyby's 8/20/77, Titan-IIIE/Centaur 7/9/79 (Jupiter GA), 8/25/81 (Saturn GA), 1/24/86 (Uranus GA), 8/25/89 (Neptune flyby) 722 dry Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus GAs and Neptune flyby NASA
Voyager 1 Close Jupiter and outer planet observations during flyby's 9/5/77, Titan-IIIE/Centaur 3/5/79 (Jupiter GA), 11/12/80 (Saturn flyby) 722 dry Jupiter GA, Saturn flyby Most distant man-made object in space. Passed termination shock of heliosphere in 12/04 NASA
Phobos 1 Study interplanetary environment, Mars and moon Phobos 7/7/88, Proton-K 2600 Direct flight Mission failed due to communication problem. RSSI


Phobos 2 Study interplanetary environment, Mars and moon Phobos 7/12/88, Proton-K 1/29/89 (Mars orbit insertion) 2600 Direct flight Carried small "hopper" lander RSSI


Galileo Detailed exploration of Jupiter system 10/18/89, Shuttle/IUS 2/10/90 (Venus GA), 10/8/90 (Earth GA), 12/8/92 (Earth GA), 12/7/95 (Jupiter orbit insertion) 2223 (main) + 339 (probe) dry, 925 fuel VEEGA (Venus-Earth-Earth GA) Discovered additional moons, IO volcanoes, Jupiter rings. First use of Earth swingby. Close flyby of asteroid Gaspra. Observed impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter. 9/21/03 Disintegrated in Jupiter atmosphere NASA


Mars Observer 9/25/92 Mission failure NASA
Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Orbit 433 Eros and observe physical properties 2/17/96, Delta II-7925 4/30/00 490 dry, 805 wet Earth GA and flyby along asteroid Mathilde First mission to orbit and land on asteroid. NASA Discover mission JHUAPL
Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Study topography, geology and weather of Mars 11/7/96, Delta II-7925 9/12/97 675 dry, 1060 wet Direct flight; aerobraking at Mars 2nd to use aerobraking stopped operations in 11/06 NASA
Mars 96 11/16/96 Failed to reach interplanetary orbit RSSI
Mars Pathfinder (MPF) Study Martian atmosphere, meteorology and geology; technology demonstrator 12/2/96, Delta II-7925 7/4/97 arrival at Mars 890 wet, 264 lander, 10.5 rover Direct transfer; landing with parachutes and rocket braking NASA Discover mission. "Faster, better, cheaper" design. Mission consists of lander and Sojourner rover (for 30 SOLs) NASA
Cassini/Huygens Explore Saturnian system 10/15/97, Titan-IVB/Centaur 7/1/04 in orbit around Saturn 2125 dry, 5712 wet (incl 318 for Huygens probe) Venus (twice), Earth and Jupiter GAs Cassini main vehicle. Huygens probe descended in atmosphere ESA


Deep Space 2 Penetrate Martian surface 1/3/98, Delta II-7425 12/3/99 landing on Mars 2 x 2.4 Piggyback on MPL 2 Probes on board Mars Polar Lander. No communication after landing on Mars NASA
Nozomi Study Martian upper atmosphere 7/4/98, M-V-3 12//xx/03 close approach of Mars 540 wet, 258 dry 2 lunar GAs, 1 Earth GA Also known as Planet-B. Mars orbit insertion failed. ISAS
Deep Space 1 Study asteroid 1992 KD and comet Borrelly; technology demonstrator 10/24/98, Delta II-7326 7/28/99 flyby of asteroid 1992 KD; 9/22/01 flyby of comet Borrelly 373.4 dry, 486.3 wet Ion thruster for primary propulsion First NASA New Millennium Program mission. Mission ended 12/18/01 NASA
Mars Climate Orbiter Mars weather observation; communication relay 12/11//98, Delta II-7425 9/23/99 339 dry, 629 wet Lost at arrival at Mars NASA
Mars Polar Lander (MPL) Study Martian climate and resources 1/3/99, Delta II-7425 12/3/99 Mars landing 576 wet, 64 fuel Direct flight Cartries (2) Deep Space 2 landers. 3/1/00 Primary mission ending NASA
Stardust Capture dust from comet P/Wild 2, and return to Earth 2/7/99 Delta II 11/2/02 flyby of asteroid Anne Frank; 01/02/02 encounter comet P/Wild 2; 1/15/06 Earth return 380 wet Earth GA First mission to return particles from beyond Moon orbit. NASA Discovery mission NASA
Mars Odyssey Map chemical elements and minerals; quantify 4/7/01, Delta II 10/24/01 arrival at Mars 725 total, 348.7 fuel Type I direct flight; aerobraking at Mars Extended mission after 8/04 NASA
CONTOUR Study comets Encke and Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 7/3/02, Delta II-7425 775 wet NASA Discovery mission. Engine burn failure, declared "lost" on 8/27/02. NASA
Hayabusa Technology demonstrator; explore asteroid Itokawa; sample return 5/9/03, M-V-5 9/xx/05 arrival at Itokawa; 11/xx/05 landing on Itokawa 510 Ion engine; powered GA Earth on 5/19/04 Also known as Muses-C ISAS
Mars Express Study topography, atmosphere and structure 6/2/03, Soyuz/Fregat 5/12/03 arrival at Mars 1108 total, 428 fuel Type I direct flight Beagle-2 lander (malfunctioned) ESA
Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Study past water activity on Mars 6/10/03, Delta II-7925 (A); 7/3/03, Delta II-7925Heavy (B) 1/4/04 (A), 1/25/04 (B) each 1013 dry, 1063 wet; rovers: 195 each Type I direct flight Two rovers (MER-A, "Spirit" and MER-B, "Opportunity"), designed for 90 SOLs but still active at time of writing. Part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program NASA
Rosetta Orbit comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 3/2/04, Ariane 5G+ 2014-2015 3000 wet, 1670 fuel 3 Earth GAs, 1 Mars GA; passed asteroids 2867 Steins (9/5/08) Orbiter + Lander ESA
Deep Impact Study comet Tempel 1 1/12/05, Delta II-2925 7/3/05 probe impact on Tempel 650 wet (flyby), 370 wet (impactor) Direct flight NASA Discovery mission. Impactor + flyby orbiter NASA
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Study Martian surface, minerals, water, atmosphere and weather 8/12/05, Atlas V-401 3/xx/06 1031 dry, 2180 wet Direct flight; 8 months for aerobraking Acts as communication and navigation link NASA
New Horizons Study atmosphere, surface, geology and solar interaction of Pluto 1/19/06, Atlas V-551 7/14/15 Pluto flyby 477 wet Jupiter GA (2/28/07) NASA
Dawn Observe asteroids Ceres and Vesta 9/27/07, Delta II-7925Heavy Vesta:07/xx/11-07/xx/12. Ceres: 02/xx/15-07/xx/15 740 dry, 1210 wet Ion propulsion system; Mars GA on 2/xx/09 First satellite to observe 2 asteroids. NASA Discovery mission NASA