Timeline of Solar System exploration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a timeline of Solar System exploration ordered by date of spacecraft launch. It includes:

  • All spacecraft that have left Earth orbit for the purposes of Solar System exploration (or were launched with that intention but failed), including lunar probes.
  • A small number of pioneering or notable Earth-orbiting craft.

It does not include:

  • The great majority of Earth-orbiting satellites.
  • Probes leaving Earth orbit that are not concerned with Solar System exploration (such as space telescopes targeted at distant galaxies, cosmic background radiation observatories, and so on).
  • Probes that failed at launch.

The dates listed are launch dates, but the achievements noted may have occurred some time later—in some cases, a considerable time later (for example, Voyager 2, launched 20 August 1977, did not reach Neptune until 1989).

Missions in italics are unfinished, i.e. have not yet been designated as successes or failures. Some unitalicised missions are nevertheless still operational, some in mission extension phases.

1950s[edit]

Sputnik 1 – First Earth orbiter

1957

  • Soviet Union Sputnik 1 – 4 October 1957 – First Earth orbiter
  • Soviet Union Sputnik 2 – 3 November 1957 – Earth orbiter, first animal in orbit, a dog named Laika

1958

1959

  • Soviet Union Luna 1 – 2 January 1959 – First lunar flyby (attempted lunar impact?)
  • United States Pioneer 4 – 3 March 1959 – Lunar flyby
  • Soviet Union Luna 2 – 12 September 1959 – First lunar impact
  • Soviet Union Luna 3 – 4 October 1959 – Lunar flyby; First images of far side of Moon

1960s[edit]

Vostok 1 – First manned Earth orbiter
Mariner 2 – First Venus flyby
Mariner 4 – First Mars flyby
Luna 9 – First lunar lander
Venera 4 – First Venus atmospheric probe
Zond 5 – First lunar flyby and return to Earth
Apollo 8 - First manned lunar orbiter
Apollo 11 – First manned lunar landing

1960

  • United States Pioneer 5 – 11 March 1960 – Interplanetary space investigations

1961

  • Soviet Union Sputnik 7 – 4 February 1961 – Attempted Venus impact (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • Soviet Union Venera 1 – 12 February 1961 – Venus flyby (contact lost before flyby)
  • Soviet Union Vostok 1 – 12 April 1961 – First manned Earth orbiter
  • United States Mercury-Redstone 3 – 5 May 1961 – First American in space
  • United States Ranger 1 – 23 August 1961 – Attempted lunar test flight
  • United States Ranger 2 – 18 November 1961 – Attempted lunar test flight

1962

  • United States Ranger 3 – 26 January 1962 – Attempted lunar impact (missed Moon)
  • United States Mercury-Atlas 6 – 20 February 1962 – First American manned Earth orbiter
  • United States Ranger 4 – 23 April 1962 – Lunar impact (but unintentionally hit lunar farside and returned no data)
  • Soviet Union Sputnik 19 – 25 August 1962 – Attempted Venus lander (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • United States Mariner 2 – 27 August 1962 – First successful planetary encounter, First successful Venus flyby
  • Soviet Union Sputnik 20 – 1 September 1962 – Attempted Venus lander (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • Soviet Union Sputnik 21 – 12 September 1962 – Attempted Venus flyby (exploded)
  • United States Ranger 5 – 18 October 1962 – Attempted lunar impact (missed Moon)
  • Soviet Union Sputnik 22 – 24 October 1962 – Attempted Mars flyby (exploded)
  • Soviet Union Mars 1 – 1 November 1962 – Mars flyby (contact lost)
  • Soviet Union Sputnik 24 – 4 November 1962 – Attempted Mars lander (broke up)

1963

  • Soviet Union Sputnik 25 – 4 January 1963 – Attempted lunar lander (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • Soviet Union Luna 4 – 2 April 1963 – Attempted lunar lander (missed Moon)
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 21 – 11 November 1963 – Attempted Venera test flight?

1964

  • United States Ranger 6 – 30 January 1964 – Lunar impact (cameras failed)
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 27 – 27 March 1964 – Attempted Venus flyby (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • Soviet Union Zond 1 – 2 April 1964 – Venus flyby (contact lost)
  • United States Ranger 7 – 28 July 1964 – Lunar impact
  • United States Mariner 3 – 5 November 1964 – Attempted Mars flyby (failed to attain correct trajectory)
  • United States Mariner 4 – 28 November 1964 – First Mars flyby
  • Soviet Union Zond 2 – 30 November 1964 – Mars flyby (contact lost)

1965

  • United States Ranger 8 – 17 February 1965 – Lunar impact
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 60 – 12 March 1965 – Attempted lunar lander (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • United States Ranger 9 – 21 March 1965 – Lunar impact
  • Soviet Union Luna 5 – 9 May 1965 – Lunar impact (attempted soft landing)
  • Soviet Union Luna 6 – 8 June 1965 – Attempted lunar lander (missed Moon)
  • Soviet Union Zond 3 – 18 July 1965 – Lunar flyby
  • Soviet Union Luna 7 – 4 October 1965 – Lunar impact (attempted soft landing)
  • Soviet Union Venera 2 – 12 November 1965 – Venus flyby (contact lost)
  • Soviet Union Venera 3 – 16 November 1965 – Venus lander (contact lost) – First spacecraft to reach another planet's surface, First Venus impact
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 96 – 23 November 1965 – Attempted Venus lander (stayed in Earth orbit due to launch failure)
  • Soviet Union Luna 8 – 3 December 1965 – Lunar impact (attempted soft landing?)
  • United States Pioneer 6 – 16 December 1965 – "Space weather" observations

1966

  • Soviet Union Luna 9 – 31 January 1966 – First lunar lander
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 111 – 1 March 1966 – Attempted lunar orbiter? (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • Soviet Union Luna 10 – 31 March 1966 – First lunar orbiter
  • United States Surveyor 1 – 30 May 1966 – Lunar lander
  • United States Explorer 33 – 1 July 1966 – Attempted lunar orbiter (failed to attain lunar orbit)
  • United States Lunar Orbiter 1 – 10 August 1966 – Lunar orbiter
  • United States Pioneer 7 – 17 August 1966 – "Space weather" observations
  • Soviet Union Luna 11 – 24 August 1966 – Lunar orbiter
  • United States Surveyor 2 – 20 September 1966 – Attempted lunar lander (crashed into Moon)
  • Soviet Union Luna 12 – 22 October 1966 – Lunar orbiter
  • United States Lunar Orbiter 2 – 6 November 1966 – Lunar orbiter
  • Soviet Union Luna 13 – 21 December 1966 – Lunar lander

1967

1968

  • United States Surveyor 7 – 7 January 1968 – Lunar lander
  • Soviet Union Zond 4 – 2 March 1968 – Lunar programme test flight
  • Soviet Union Luna 14 – 7 April 1968 – Lunar orbiter
  • Soviet Union Zond 5 – 15 September 1968 – First lunar flyby and return to Earth
  • United States Pioneer 9 – 8 November 1968 – "Space weather" observations
  • Soviet Union Zond 6 – 10 November 1968 – Lunar flyby and return to Earth
  • United States Apollo 8 – 21 December 1968 – First manned lunar orbiter

1969

  • Soviet Union Venera 5 – 5 January 1969 – Venus atmospheric probe
  • Soviet Union Venera 6 – 10 January 1969 – Venus atmospheric probe
  • United States Mariner 6 – 25 February 1969 – Mars flyby
  • United States Apollo 9 – 3 March 1969 – Manned lunar lander (LEM) flight test
  • United States Mariner 7 – 27 March 1969 – Mars flyby
  • United States Apollo 10 – 18 May 1969 – Manned lunar orbiter
  • Soviet Union Luna E-8-5 No.402 – 14 June 1969 – Attempted lunar sample return, first attempted sample return mission
  • Soviet Union Luna 15 – 13 July 1969 – Second attempted lunar sample return
  • United States Apollo 11 – 16 July 1969 – First manned lunar landing and first successful sample return mission
  • Soviet Union Zond 7 – 7 August 1969 – Lunar flyby and return to Earth
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 300 – 23 September 1969 – Attempted lunar sample return? (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 305 – 22 October 1969 – Attempted lunar sample return? (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • United States Apollo 12 – 14 November 1969 – Manned lunar landing

1970s[edit]

Lunokhod 1 – First lunar rover
Pioneer 10 – First Jupiter flyby
Mariner 10 – First Mercury flyby
Voyager 2 – First Uranus/first Neptune flyby

1970

  • United States Apollo 13 – 11 April 1970 – Manned lunar flyby and return to Earth (manned lunar landing aborted)
  • Soviet Union Venera 7 – 17 August 1970 – First Venus lander
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 359 – 22 August 1970 – Attempted Venus probe (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • Soviet Union Luna 16 – 12 September 1970 – First robotic lunar sample return
  • Soviet Union Zond 8 – 20 October 1970 – Lunar flyby and return to Earth
  • Soviet Union Luna 17/Lunokhod 1 – 10 November 1970 – First lunar rover

1971

  • United States Apollo 14 – 31 January 1971 – Manned lunar landing
  • Soviet Union Salyut 1 – 19 April 1971 – First space station
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 419 – 10 May 1971 – Attempted Mars orbiter (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • United States Mariner 9 – 30 May 1971 – First Mars orbiter
  • Soviet Union Mars 2 – 19 May 1971 – Mars orbiter and attempted lander; First Mars impact
  • Soviet Union Mars 3 – 28 May 1971 – Mars orbiter, First Mars lander (lost contact after 14.5s) and First Mars atmospheric probe
  • United States Apollo 15 – 26 July 1971 – Manned lunar landing; First manned lunar rover
  • Soviet Union Luna 18 – 2 September 1971 – Attempted lunar sample return (crashed into Moon)
  • Soviet Union Luna 19 – 28 September 1971 – Lunar orbiter

1972

  • Soviet Union Luna 20 – 14 February 1972 – Lunar robotic sample return
  • United States Pioneer 10 – 3 March 1972 – First Jupiter flyby
  • Soviet Union Venera 8 – 27 March 1972 – Venus lander
  • Soviet Union Cosmos 482 – 31 March 1972 – Attempted Venus probe (failed to escape Earth orbit)
  • United States Apollo 16 – 16 April 1972 – Manned lunar landing
  • United States Apollo 17 – 7 December 1972 – Last manned lunar landing

1973

  • Soviet Union Luna 21/Lunokhod 2 – 8 January 1973 – Lunar rover
  • United States Pioneer 11 – 5 April 1973 – Jupiter flyby and First Saturn flyby
  • United States Skylab – 14 May 1973 – First American space station
  • United States Explorer 49 (RAE-B) – 10 June 1973 – Lunar orbiter/radio astronomy
  • Soviet Union Mars 4 – 21 July 1973 – Mars flyby (attempted Mars orbiter)
  • Soviet Union Mars 5 – 25 July 1973 – Mars orbiter
  • Soviet Union Mars 6 – 5 August 1973 – Mars orbiter and attempted lander (failed due to damage on Mars landing)
  • Soviet Union Mars 7 – 9 August 1973 – Mars flyby and attempted lander (missed Mars)
  • United States Mariner 10 – 4 November 1973 – Venus flyby and First Mercury flyby

1974

  • Soviet Union Luna 22 – 2 June 1974 – Lunar orbiter
  • Soviet Union Luna 23 – 28 October 1974 – Attempted lunar sample return (failed due to damage on lunar landing)
  • United States Germany Helios-A – 10 December 1974 – Solar observations

1975

  • Soviet Union Venera 9 – 8 June 1975 – First Venus orbiter and lander; First images from surface of Venus
  • Soviet Union Venera 10 – 14 June 1975 – Venus orbiter and lander
  • United States Viking 1 – 20 August 1975 – Mars orbiter and lander; First lander returning data and First pictures from Martian surface
  • United States Viking 2 – 9 September 1975 – Mars orbiter and lander

1976

  • United States Germany Helios-B – 15 January 1976 – Solar observations, Closest solar approach (0.29 AU)
  • Soviet Union Luna 24 – 9 August 1976 – Lunar robotic sample return

1977

  • United States Voyager 2 – 20 August 1977 – Jupiter/Saturn/first Uranus/first Neptune flyby
  • United States Voyager 1 – 5 September 1977 – Jupiter/Saturn flyby, Farthest human-made object – currently (2013) over 125 AU

1978

1980s[edit]

Giotto – Comet Halley flyby

1981

  • Soviet Union Venera 13 – 30 October 1981 – Venus flyby and lander
  • Soviet Union Venera 14 – 4 November 1981 – Venus flyby and lander

1983

1984

  • Soviet Union Vega 1 – 15 December 1984 – Venus flyby, lander and first balloon; continued on to Comet Halley flyby
  • Soviet Union Vega 2 – 21 December 1984 – Venus flyby, lander and balloon; continued on to Comet Halley flyby

1985

Galileo – Mission to Jupiter
  • Japan Sakigake – 7 January 1985 – Comet Halley flyby
  • European Union Giotto – 2 July 1985 – Comet Halley flyby
  • Japan Suisei (Planet-A) – 18 August 1985 – Comet Halley flyby

1986

  • Soviet Union Mir – 20 February 1986 – First modular space station (completion 1996)

1988

  • Soviet Union Phobos 1 – 7 July 1988 – Attempted Mars orbiter/Phobos landers (contact lost)
  • Soviet Union Phobos 2 – 12 July 1988 – Mars orbiter/attempted Phobos landers (contact lost)

1989

1990s[edit]

1990

Mars Pathfinder – Mars lander and first Mars rover

1991

  • Japan United States United Kingdom Yohkoh (Solar-A) – 30 August 1991 – Solar observations

1992

  • United States Mars Observer – 25 September 1992 – Attempted Mars orbiter (contact lost)

1994

  • United States Clementine – 25 January 1994 – Lunar orbiter/attempted asteroid flyby
  • United States WIND – 1 November 1994 – Solar wind observations

1995

  • European Union United States SOHO – 2 December 1995 – Solar observatory

1996

1997

Cassini–Huygens – First Saturn orbiter and first Titan lander
  • United States ACE – 25 August 1997 – Solar wind and "space weather" observations
  • United States European Union Italy Cassini–Huygens – 15 October 1997 – First Saturn orbiter and first outer planet lander
  • China AsiaSat 3/HGS-1 – 24 December 1997 – Lunar flyby

1998

1999

2000s[edit]

Mars Express/Beagle 2 – First planetary mission by the ESA
MESSENGER – First Mercury orbiter
New Horizons – First Pluto flyby

2001

2002

  • United States CONTOUR – 3 July 2002 – Attempted flyby of three comet nuclei (lost in space)

2003

2004

  • European Union Rosetta – 2 March 2004 – Comet orbiter and lander (expected arrival 2014)
  • United States MESSENGER – 3 August 2004 – First Mercury orbiter (achieved orbit 18 March 2011)

2005

2006

  • United States New Horizons – 19 January 2006 – First Pluto/Charon and Kuiper Belt flyby (expected arrival 14 July 2015)
  • Japan United States United Kingdom Hinode (Solar-B) – 22 September 2006 – Solar orbiter
  • United States STEREO – 26 October 2006 – Two spacecraft, solar orbiters

2007

  • United States Phoenix – 4 August 2007 – Mars polar lander
  • Japan SELENE (Kaguya) – 14 September 2007 – Lunar orbiters
  • United States Dawn – 27 September 2007 – Asteroid Ceres and Vesta orbiter (entered orbit around Vesta on 16 July 2011)
  • China Chang'e 1 – 24 October 2007 – Lunar orbiter

2008

  • India Chandrayaan-1 – 22 October 2008 – Lunar orbiter and impactor – Discovered water on the moon

2009

2010s[edit]

Mars Science Laboratory – Mars lander and large rover
Mangalyaan – First Indian Mars orbiter

2010

  • United States Solar Dynamics Observatory – 11 February 2010 – Continuous solar monitoring
  • Japan Akatsuki (Planet-C) – 20 May 2010 – Venus orbiter (orbit insertion failed in 2010 / postponed to 2016–17)
  • France PICARD – 15 June 2010 – Solar monitoring
  • China Chang'e 2 – 1 October 2010 – Lunar orbiter, Asteroid 4179 Toutatis flyby

2011

  • United States Juno – 5 August 2011 – Jupiter orbiter
  • United States GRAIL – 10 September 2011 – Two spacecraft, Lunar orbiters
  • China Tiangong (Project 921-2) - 29 September 2011 - First Chinese space station[1] (planned completion around 2020)
  • Russia China Fobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 – 8 November 2011 – Phobos orbiter, lander and sample return (Russia), Mars orbiter (China) – failed to escape Earth orbit
  • United States Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) – 26 November 2011 – large Mars 900 kg Rover (landed 6 August 2012)

2012

  • United States Van Allen Probes (RBSP) - 30 August 2012 - Earth Van Allen radiation belts study

2013

  • United States IRIS – 27 June 2013 – Solar observations
  • United States LADEE – 6 September 2013 – Lunar orbiter
  • Japan Hisaki - 14 September 2013 - Planetary atmosphere observatory
  • India Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) – 5 November 2013 – Mars orbiter
  • United States MAVEN – 18 November 2013 – Mars orbiter
  • China Chang'e 3 – 1 December 2013 - Lunar lander and rover (most recent lander since Russian Luna 24 in 1976)

Planned or scheduled[edit]

ISRO Orbital Vehicle – First Indian manned spacecraft
SELENE-2 - First Japanese lunar lander

2014

  • Japan Hayabusa 2 – July 2014 – Asteroid lander and sample return

2015

2016

2017

  • European Union SOLO – January 2017 – Solar Orbiter
  • China Chang'e 5 – Lunar sample return mission
  • Japan SELENE-2 – Lunar lander and penetrator

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2024

2025

  • United States Manned landing on an Asteroid[2]
  • China Manned landing on Moon (2020–30?)[4]
  • Russia Manned lunar mission[5]

2035

2040-60

  • China Crewed phase of the Chinese Mars exploration program[6]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]