List of missions to the outer planets

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A total of nine spacecraft have been launched on missions that involve visits to the outer planets; all nine missions involve encounters with Jupiter, with four spacecraft also visiting Saturn. One spacecraft, Voyager 2, also visited Uranus and Neptune. The nine missions include two; Ulysses and New Horizons, whose primary objectives are not related to the outer planets, but which flew past Jupiter to gain gravity assists en route to a polar orbit around the Sun, and Pluto - at the time of its launch considered an outer planet - respectively. Cassini–Huygens also flew past Jupiter for a gravity assist on its mission to explore Saturn.

Only three of the missions to the outer planets have been orbiters: Galileo orbited Jupiter for eight years, and Juno will enter orbit around Jupiter in 2016, while Cassini has been in orbit of Saturn since 2004.

Jupiter[edit]

Six spacecraft have been launched to explore Jupiter, with an additional three spacecraft making gravity-assist flybys without the exploration of Jupiter being one of their primary objectives.

Timeline
Spacecraft Launch Date Mission Outcome Remarks Carrier rocket
Pioneer 10 3 March 1972[1] Flyby 4Successful[2] Closest approach at 02:25 UTC on 4 December 1973[3] Atlas SLV-3C Centaur-D[4]
Pioneer 11 6 April 1973[1] Flyby 4Successful[5] Closest approach at 05:22 UTC on 3 December 1974, later flew past Saturn[6] Atlas SLV-3D Centaur-D1A[4]
Voyager 2 20 August 1977[1] Flyby 4Successful Closest approach at 22:29 on 9 July 1979, later flew past Saturn, Uranus and Neptune[7] Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T[8]
Voyager 1 5 September 1977[1] Flyby 4Successful Closest approach at 12:05 UTC on 5 March 1979, later flew past Saturn[9] Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T[8]
Galileo 18 October 1989[1] Orbiter/Atmospheric 4Successful[10] Atmospheric probe entered atmosphere at 22:04 UTC on 7 December 1995 and operated for 57 minutes; main spacecraft entered orbit at 00:27 UTC on 8 December.[11] Spacecraft was deorbited on 21 September 2003, impacting Jupiter's atmosphere at 18:57:18 UTC.[12] Space Shuttle Atlantis
STS-34 / IUS[13]
Ulysses 6 October 1990[1] Gravity assist N/A Flyby on 8 February 1992 to reach a high-inclination heliocentric orbit.[14] Also made a distant incidental flyby on 4 February 2004[15] Space Shuttle Discovery
STS-41 / IUS[16]
Cassini–Huygens 15 October 1997[1] Gravity assist N/A Flyby on 30 December 2000 en route to Saturn[17] Titan IV(401)B Centaur-T[18]
New Horizons 19 January 2006[1] Gravity assist[19] N/A Flyby on 28 February 2007 (closest approach at 05:43:40[20]) en route to Pluto[21] Atlas V 551[19]
Juno 5 August 2011[1] Orbiter 5En route Scheduled to arrive in July 2016[22] Atlas V 551[23]
Missions whose primary objectives were not related to the exploration of Jupiter are indicated in grey

Saturn[edit]

Four spacecraft have visited Saturn; Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 made flybys, while Cassini–Huygens entered orbit, and deployed a probe into the atmosphere of Titan.

Timeline
Spacecraft Launch Date Mission Outcome Remarks Carrier rocket
Pioneer 11 6 April 1973[1] Flyby 4Successful Closest approach on 1 September 1979 at 16:31 UTC[6] Atlas SLV-3D Centaur-D1A[4]
Voyager 2 20 August 1977[1] Flyby 4Successful Closest approach at 01:21 UTC on 26 August 1981, later flew past Uranus and Neptune[7] Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T[8]
Voyager 1 5 September 1977[1] Flyby 4Successful Closest approach on 12 November 1980 at 23:45 UTC[9] Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T[8]
Cassini 15 October 1997[1] Orbiter 5Operational Entered orbit 1 July 2004; operational on extended mission[24] Titan IV(401)B Centaur-T[18]
Huygens 15 October 1997[1] Titan lander 5Successful Deployed from Cassini; landed on Titan at 10:13 UTC on 14 January 2005 Titan IV(401)B Centaur-T[18]

Uranus[edit]

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited Uranus, making a single flyby as part of its grand tour of the outer planets.

Timeline
Spacecraft Launch Date Mission Outcome Remarks Carrier rocket
Voyager 2 20 August 1977[1] Flyby 4Successful Closest approach at 17:59 UTC on 24 January 1986, later flew past Neptune[7] Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T[8]

Neptune[edit]

Voyager 2 is also the only spacecraft to have visited Neptune, making a single flyby as part of its grand tour of the outer planets.

Timeline
Spacecraft Launch Date Mission Outcome Remarks Carrier rocket
Voyager 2 20 August 1977[1] Flyby 4Successful Closest approach at 03:26 UTC on 25 August 1989[7] Titan IIIE Centaur-D1T[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Pioneer 10". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Pioneer 10 - Read More". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Krebs, Gunter. "Pioneer 10, 11, H". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Pioneer 11". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Solar System Exploration - Pioneer 11 - Read More". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Solar System Exploration - Voyager 2 - Read More". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Krebs, Gunter. "Voyager 1, 2". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Solar System Exploration - Voyager 1 - Read More". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Galileo". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Galileo - Read More". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Galileo - Dates". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Galileo". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Ulysses - Read More". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Ulysses - Encounter Trajectory". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Ulyssees". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Cassini - Dates". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c Krebs, Gunter. "Cassini". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "New Horizons". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  20. ^ Muller, Daniel. "New Horizons Full Mission Timeline". Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "New Horizons targets Jupiter kick". BBC News. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Amos, Jonathan (4 September 2012). "Juno Jupiter probe gets British boost". BBC News. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  23. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Juno (New Frontiers 2)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Solar System Exploration - Cassini". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2013.