Timeline of artificial satellites and space probes

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This timeline of artificial satellites and space probes includes unmanned spacecraft including technology demonstrators, observatories, lunar probes, and interplanetary probes. First satellites from each country are included. Not included are most earth science satellites, commercial satellites or manned missions. List is not yet complete and can become out-of-date.

Key: Year – Origin – Target – Status – Description

1950s[edit]

Year Origin Name Status Description
1957  USSR Sputnik 1 Success The first satellite in space.
1957  USSR Sputnik 2 Success
1957  USA Vanguard TV3 Failed
1958  USA Explorer 1 Success The first American satellite in space.
1958  USA Vanguard 6.5in Satellite 2 Failed
1958  USA Explorer 2 Failed
1958  USA Vanguard 1 Success
1958  USA Explorer 3 Success
1958  USSR ISZ D-1 No. 1 Failed
1958  USA Vanguard 20in X-ray 1 Failed
1958  USSR Sputnik 3 Success
1958  USA Vanguard 20in Lyman-Alpha 1 Failed

1960s[edit]

Year Origin Target Status Description
1960  USA Sun Success Pioneer 5 solar monitor
1962  UK Earth Success Ariel 1, the first British satellite in space (on American rocket)
1962  Canada Earth Success Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite (on American rocket)
1964  Italy Earth Success San Marco 1, the first Italian satellite (on American rocket)
1965  France Earth Success Asterix, the first French satellite
1967  Australia Earth Success WRESAT, the first Australian satellite (on American rocket)
1969  USA Moon Success Apollo 11 Moon landing

1970s[edit]

Year Origin Target Status Description
1970  Japan Earth Failure Osumi the first Japanese satellite
1970  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 7, the first successful landing of a spacecraft on another planet
1970  Soviet Union Moon Success Luna 16 lander is the first automated return of samples from the Moon
1970  Soviet Union Moon Success Zond 8 flyby
1970  Soviet Union Moon Success Luna 17/Lunokhod 1 lander/rover is the first automated surface exploration of the Moon
1970  UK Earth Failure Orba (satellite), second stage of rocket shutdown 13 seconds early
1970  USA Earth Success Launch of Uhuru, the first dedicated X-ray satellite
1970  China Earth Success Launch of Dong Fang Hong I, the first Chinese satellite
1971  Soviet Union Moon Failure Luna 18 lander
1971  Soviet Union Moon Success Luna 19 orbiter
1971  USA Mars Failure Mariner 8 flyby
1971  Soviet Union Mars Failure Cosmos 419 probe
1971  Soviet Union Mars Partial Failure Mars 2 orbiter and lander, created the first human artifact on Mars
1971  Soviet Union Mars Partial Success Mars 3 orbiter and lander, first successful landing on Mars
1971  USA Mars Success Mariner 9 orbiter, first pictures of Mars' moons (Phobos and Deimos) taken
1971  UK Earth Success Prospero X-3 satellite, first satellite launched by Britain using a British rocket
1971  UK Earth Success Ariel 4,
1972  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 8 lander
1972  Soviet Union Moon Success Luna 20 lander
1972  USA/ UK Earth Success Launch of the Copernicus – Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-3
1972  USA Jupiter Success Pioneer 10 launched, first spacecraft to encounter Jupiter
1972  USA Sun Success Explorer 49 solar probe
1973  USA Venus/Mercury Success Mariner 10 launched, it passed by and photographed Mercury, also was the first dual planet probe
1973  USA Jupiter/Saturn Success Pioneer 11 launched, first spacecraft to encounter Saturn
1973  Soviet Union Moon Success Luna 21/Lunokhod 2 lander/rover
1973  Soviet Union Mars Failure Mars 4 orbiter
1973  Soviet Union Mars Success Mars 5 orbiter
1973  Soviet Union Mars Failure Mars 6 orbiter and lander
1973  Soviet Union Mars Failure Mars 7 orbiter and lander
1974  West Germany Sun Success Helios 1 solar probe
1974  Soviet Union Moon Success Luna 22 orbiter
1974  Soviet Union Moon Failure Luna 23 probe
1974  UK Earth Success Launch of the Ariel 5 X-ray satellite
1975  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 9 returns the first pictures of the surface of Venus
1975  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 10 orbiter and lander
1975  USA Mars Success Viking 1 orbiter and lander; lands on Mars 1976
1975  USA Mars Success Viking 2 orbiter and lander; lands on Mars 1976
1975  India Earth Success Aryabhata, launched by USSR,the first Indian satellite
1976  West Germany Sun Success Helios 2 solar probe
1976  Soviet Union Moon Success Luna 24 lander
1976  USA/ Canada Earth Success Hermes Communications Technology Satellite prototype for testing direct broadcast TV
1976  USA/ Netherlands Earth Success The Vela and ANS X-ray satellites discover X-ray bursts (first Dutch satellite)
1976  USA Sun Success The Orbiting Solar Observatory X-ray satellite shows that X-ray bursts have blackbody spectra
1977  USA Earth Success Launch of the HEAO-1 X-ray satellite
1978  USA Venus Success Pioneer Venus 1 orbiter
1978  USA Venus Success Pioneer Venus 2 atmospheric probe
1978  Soviet Union Venus Partial Success Venera 11 flyby and lander
1978  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 12 flyby and lander
1978  USA/ UK/ Europe Earth Success Launch of the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite
1978  USA Earth Success Launch of the Einstein X-ray satellite (HEAO-2) is the first X-ray photographs of astronomical objects
1979  India Failure India's first rocket Satellite Launch Vehicle launched
1979  Japan Earth Success Launch of the Hakucho X-ray satellite
1979  UK Earth Success Launch of the Ariel 6 cosmic-ray and X-ray satellite
1979  USA Jupiter Success Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 send back images of Jupiter and its system
1979  India Earth Success Bhaskara-1 India, launched by ISRO (First Indian low orbit Earth Observation Satellite)

1980s[edit]

Year Origin Target Status Description
1980  USA Sun Failure Solar Maximum Mission solar probe succeeded after being repaired in Earth orbit
1981  India Earth Success Bhaskara-2 India, launched by ISRO
1981  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 13 launched, it returned the first colour pictures of the surface of Venus
1981  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 14 flyby and lander
1981  Bulgaria Earth Success Bulgaria 1300, polar research mission, launched by the Soviet Union
1983  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 15 orbiter
1983  Soviet Union Venus Success Venera 16 orbiter
1983  Europe Earth Success Launch of the EXOSAT X-ray satellite
1983  Japan Earth Success Launch of the Tenma X-ray satellite (ASTRO-B)
1983  USA/ Netherlands/ UK Earth Success Launch of the IRAS satellite
1984  Soviet Union Venus/Halley's Comet Success Vega 1 flyby, atmospheric probe and lander
1984  Soviet Union Venus/Halley's Comet Success Vega 2 flyby, atmospheric probe and lander
1985  Mexico Earth Success Morelos I, the first Mexican satellite
1986  Europe Halley's Comet Success Giotto flyby
1987  Japan Earth Success Launch of the Ginga X-ray satellite (ASTRO-C)
1988  Soviet Union Mars Failure Phobos 1 orbiter and lander
1988  Soviet Union Mars Partial Failure Phobos 2 flyby and lander
1989  USA Venus Success Magellan orbiter launched which mapped 99 percent of the surface of Venus (300 m resolution)
1989  USA Venus/Earth/Moon/Gaspra/Ida/Jupiter Success Galileo flyby, orbiter and atmospheric probe
1989  USA Neptune Success Voyager 2 sends back images of Neptune and its system
1989  Europe Earth Success Launch of the Hipparcos satellite
1989  USA Earth Success Launch of the COBE satellite
1989  Soviet Union Earth Success Launch of the Granat gamma-ray and X-ray satellite

1990s[edit]

Year Origin Target Status Description
1990  USA/ Europe Sun Success Ulysses solar flyby
1990  Japan Moon Success Hiten probe, this was the first non-United States or USSR probe to reach the Moon
1990  USA/ Europe Earth Success Launch of the Hubble Space Telescope
1990  Germany Earth Success Launch of the ROSAT X-ray satellite to conduct the first imaging X-ray sky survey
1991  Japan Sun Success Yohkoh solar probe
1991  USA Earth Success Launch of the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory satellite
1992  USA Mars Failure Mars Observer orbiter
1993  Japan Earth Success Launch of the ASCA (ASTRO-D) X-ray satellite
1994  USA Moon Success Clementine orbiter mapped the surface of the Moon (resolution 125-150 m) and allowed the first accurate relief map of the Moon to be generated
1995  Mexico Earth Failed Unamsat 1, First UNAM built orbiter
1995  Europe Earth Success Launch of the Infrared Space Observatory
1995  Europe/ USA Sun Success SOHO solar probe
1996  USA 433 Eros Success NEAR Shoemaker asteroid flybys/orbiter/lander
1996  USA Mars Success Mars Global Surveyor orbiter
1996  USA Mars Success Mars Pathfinder, the first automated surface exploration of another planet
1996  Russia Mars Failure Mars 96 orbiter and lander
1997  USA/ Europe Saturn and Titan Success Cassini-Huygens arrived in orbit on July 1, 2004, landed on Titan January 14, 2005
1998  North Korea Earth Unknown Claimed launch of Kwangmyongsong-1 by North Korea though no independent source was able to verify its existence
1998  USA Moon Success Lunar Prospector orbiter
1998  Japan Mars Failure Nozomi (Planet B) orbiter, the first Japanese spacecraft to reach another planet
1998  USA Mars Failure Mars Climate Orbiter
1999  USA Mars Failure Mars Polar Lander
1999  USA Mars Failure Deep Space 2 (DS2) penetrators
1999  USA Earth Success Launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory
1999  Europe Earth Success Launch of the X-Ray Multi-Mirror Mission, XMM-Newton

2000s[edit]

Year Origin Target Status Description
2000  UK Earth Success SNAP-1 robotic camera enabling images to be sent to other spacecrafts orbiting the Earth
2001  USA Sun Partial Success Genesis solar wind sample crash-landed on return
2001  USA Earth Success Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) performs cosmological observations.
2001  USA Mars Success Mars Odyssey
2003  Canada Earth Success MOST the smallest space telescope in orbit
2003  USA Comet Encke Failure CONTOUR launched, but lost during early trajectory insertion.
2003  Europe Moon Success Smart 1 orbiter
2003  Europe Mars Partial Success Mars Express orbiter (successfully reached orbit) and failed lander, the Beagle 2
2003  USA Mars Success Mars Exploration Rovers successful launches, Spirit successfully landed, Opportunity successfully landed
2003  UK Earth Success UK-DMC orbiter, part of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation
2003  Japan 25143 Itokawa Success Hayabusa sample return arrive at 2010
2004  Europe Comet 67P Success Rosetta space probe launched (arrived on comet 67P on November 12, 2014)
2004  USA Mercury Success MESSENGER orbiter launched (in Mercury orbit)
2004  USA Earth Success Launch of the Swift Gamma ray burst observatory.
2005  Iran Earth Success Sinah-1 launched, first Iranian-built satellite
2005  USA Comet Tempel 1 Success Deep Impact
2005  USA Mars In orbit Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
2005  Europe Venus in orbit Venus Express
2006  USA Pluto yet to arrive New Horizons launched
2006  France/ESA Earth Launched COROT telescope to search for extrasolar planets
2007  USA Mars Success Phoenix launched and successfully landed in 2008
2007  Japan Moon in lunar orbit since October 3, 2007 SELENE orbiter and lander
2007  USA Vesta/Ceres launched Dawn solar powered ion engined probe to 4 Vesta and 1 Ceres.
2007  China Moon Success Chang'e-I lunar orbiter
2008  USA Earth Launched, operating IBEX
2009  Europe L2 Launched, arrived, operating Planck (spacecraft)
2009  Europe L2 Launched, arrived, operating Herschel Space Observatory
2009  Iran Earth Success Omid launched by Iranian made launcher Safir. First Iranian-launched satellite
2009  USA Earth Success Kepler launched
2009  India Earth Success RISAT-2 developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, launched by ISRO, India
2009  India Moon Partial failure Chandrayaan-1 developed and launched by ISRO, India
2009  UK Earth Success UK-DMC 2 orbiter, successor to UK-DMC part of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation

2010s[edit]

Year Origin Target Status Description
2010  Japan Venus failed orbital insertion Akatsuki orbiter
2010  Japan Venus launched IKAROS, first solar-sail spacecraft
2010  China Moon success Chang'e-2 lunar orbiter/impacter
2011  USA Jupiter launched and en route Juno
2011  Russia Mars Failure Fobos-Grunt lander and sample return
2013  Poland Earth Launched PW-Sat, first Polish satellite
2012  Iran Earth Launched Navid earth-watching satellite
2012  USA Mars Success Mars Science Laboratory with Curiosity rover—orbit and landed
2012  North Korea Earth Launched Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, first successful North Korean orbital rocket launch
2013  South Korea Earth Launched STSAT-2C, first successful South Korean orbital rocket launch
2013  UK Earth success STRaND-1, first smartphone-operated satellite to be launched and dubbed the world's first "phonesat"
2013  Ecuador Earth Launched NEE-01 PEGASO First Ecuadorian satellite
2013  Estonia Earth Launched ESTCube-1, first Estonian satellite
2013  Japan Earth Launched Hisaki planetary atmosphere observatory
2013  India Mars Success Mars Orbiter Mission
2013  USA Mars Success MAVEN orbiter
2013  Poland Earth Launched Lem, First Polish scientific satellite

External links[edit]