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.

Key: Year – Origin – Target – Status – Description

Timeline[edit]

203 in total

1950s[edit]

Year Origin Name Status Description
1957  USSR Sputnik 1 Success The first satellite in space.
1957  USSR Sputnik 2 Success The first satellite to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika.
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 The oldest man-made object in space, expected to remain in orbit until approximately 2200 AD.
1958  USA Explorer 3 Success
1958  USSR ISZ D-1 No. 1 Failed
1958  USA Vanguard 20in X-ray 1 Failed
May 15, 1958  USSR Sputnik 3 Success
1958  USA Vanguard 20in Lyman-Alpha 1 Failed
October 11, 1958  USA Pioneer 1 Partial Success First spacecraft launched by NASA.
January 2, 1959  USSR Luna 1 Success The first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon, and the first spacecraft to be placed in heliocentric orbit.
February 17, 1959  USA Vanguard 2 Cloud Cover Experiment Success
September 12, 1959  USSR Luna 2 Success The first spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon, and the first man-made object to land on another celestial body.
September 18, 1959  USA Vanguard 3 Success Orbited 22.7 kg (50 lb) satellite
October 4, 1959  USSR Luna 3 Success The first mission to photograph the Far side of the Moon.
October 13, 1959  USA Explorer 7 Success

Integrate into table above[edit]

  1. Vanguard TV3 - December 6, 1957 - Failed to orbit 1.36 kg (3 lb) satellite - low tank pressure caused engine cutoff T+2 seconds
  2. Vanguard TV3 Backup - February 5, 1958 - Failed to orbit 1.36 kg (3 lb) satellite - control failure caused vehicle breakup T+55 seconds
  3. Vanguard 1 - March 17, 1958 - Orbited 1.47 kg (3.25 lb) satellite
  4. Vanguard TV5 - April 28, 1958 - Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22 lb) satellite - 3rd stage separation failure
  5. Vanguard SLV-1 - May 27, 1958 - Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22 lb) satellite - 2nd stage attitude control failure prevented the 3rd stage from entering the correct angle for orbital insertion
  6. Vanguard SLV 2 - June 26, 1958 - Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22 lb) satellite - 2nd stage lost thrust after only 8 seconds of burning due to fuel line obstruction
  7. Vanguard SLV 3 - September 26, 1958 - Failed to orbit 9.98 kg (22 lb) satellite - 2nd stage insufficient thrust for orbital insertion due to fuel line obstruction
  8. Vanguard 2 - February 17, 1959 - Orbited 10.8 kg (23.7 lb) satellite
  9. Vanguard SLV 5 - April 13, 1959 - Failed to orbit 10.3 kg (22 lb 11 oz) satellite - 2nd stage hydraulics failure led to loss of control
  10. Vanguard SLV 6 - June 22, 1959 - Failed to orbit 10.3 kg (22 lb 11 oz) satellite - 2nd stage exploded due to stuck helium vent valve

1960s[edit]

Year Origin Name Target Status Description
1960  USA Pioneer 5 Sun Success Solar monitor
1960  USSR Korabl-Sputnik 1 Earth Success
1960  USSR Korabl-Sputnik 2 Earth Success
1962  USA Mariner 2 Venus Success First spacecraft to visit another planet
1962  USA Telstar 1 Earth Success Communication satellite
1962  UK Ariel 1 Earth Success First British satellite in space (on American rocket)
1962  Canada Alouette 1 Earth Success First Canadian satellite (on American rocket)
1964  Italy San Marco 1 Earth Success First Italian satellite (on American rocket)
1965  USA Mariner 4 Mars Success First deep space photographs of another planet and first flyby of Mars
1965  France Asterix Earth Success First French satellite
1966  USSR Luna 9 Moon Success First spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, or any planetary body other than Earth, and to transmit photographic data to Earth from the surface of another planetary body.
1967  Australia WRESAT Earth Success First Australian satellite (on American rocket)

1970s[edit]

Year Origin Name Target Status Description
1970  Japan Osumi Earth Success First Japanese satellite
1970  USSR Venera 7 Venus Success First successful landing of a spacecraft on another planet
1970  USSR Luna 16 Moon Success Lander is the first automated return of samples from the Moon
1970  USSR Zond 8 Moon Success Flyby
1970  USSR Luna 17/Lunokhod 1 Moon Success Lander/rover is the first automated surface exploration of the Moon
1970  UK Orba (satellite) Earth Failure Second stage of rocket shutdown 13 seconds early
1970  USA Uhuru Earth Success First dedicated X-ray astronomy satellite
1970  China Dong Fang Hong I Earth Success First Chinese satellite
1971  USSR Luna 18 Moon Failure Lander
1971  USSR Luna 19 Moon Success Orbiter
1971  USA Mariner 8 Mars Failure Flyby
1971  USSR Cosmos 419 Mars Failure Probe
1971  USSR Mars 2 Mars Partial Failure Orbiter and lander, created the first human artifact on Mars
1971  USSR Mars 3 Mars Partial Success Orbiter and lander, first successful landing on Mars
1971  USA Mariner 9 Mars Success Orbiter, first pictures of Mars' moons (Phobos and Deimos) taken
1971  Japan Shinsei Earth Partial success First Japanese science satellite
1971  UK Prospero X-3 Earth Success Satellite, first satellite launched by Britain using a British rocket
1971  UK Ariel 4 Earth Success
1972  USSR Venera 8 Venus Success Lander
1972  USSR Luna 20 Moon Success Lander
1972  USA/ UK Copernicus – Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-3 Earth Success
1972  USA Pioneer 10 Jupiter Success First spacecraft to encounter Jupiter
1972  USA Explorer 49 Sun Success Solar probe
1973  USA Mariner 10 Venus/Mercury Success It passed by and photographed Mercury, also was the first dual planet probe
1973  USA Pioneer 11 Jupiter/Saturn Success First spacecraft to encounter Saturn
1973  USSR Luna 21/Lunokhod 2 Moon Success Lander/rover
1973  USSR Mars 4 Mars Failure Orbiter
1973  USSR Mars 5 Mars Success Orbiter
1973  USSR Mars 6 Mars Failure Orbiter and lander
1973  USSR Mars 7 Mars Failure Orbiter and lander
1974  West Germany Helios 1 Sun Success Solar probe
1974  USSR Luna 22 Moon Success Orbiter
1974  USSR Luna 23 Moon Failure Probe
1974  UK Ariel 5 Earth Success X-ray satellite
1975  USSR Venera 9 Venus Success Returns the first pictures of the surface of Venus
1975  USSR Venera 10 Venus Success Orbiter and lander
1975  USA Viking 1 Mars Success Orbiter and lander; lands on Mars 1976
1975  USA Viking 2 Mars Success Orbiter and lander; lands on Mars 1976
1975  India Aryabhata Earth Success Launched by USSR,the first Indian satellite
1976  West Germany Helios 2 Sun Success Solar probe
1976  USSR Luna 24 Moon Success Lander
1976  USA/ Canada Hermes Communications Technology Satellite Earth Success Prototype for testing direct broadcast TV
1976  USA/ Netherlands Vela (satellite) and ANS Discover X-ray bursts, first Netherlands Satellite
1976  USA Orbiting Solar Observatory Sun Success X-ray satellite shows that X-ray bursts have blackbody spectra
1977  USA HEAO-1 Earth Success X-ray satellite
1978  USA Pioneer Venus 1 Venus Success Orbiter
1978  USA Pioneer Venus 2 Venus Success Atmospheric probe
1978  USSR Venera 11 Venus Partial Success Flyby and lander
1978  USSR Venera 12 Venus Success Flyby and lander
1978 . USA/ UK/ Europe International Ultraviolet Explorer Earth Success
1978  USA HEAO-2 Earth Success First X-ray photographs of astronomical objects
1979  India Satellite Launch Vehicle Failure India's first rocket launched
1979  Japan Hakucho Earth Success X-ray satellite
1979  UK Ariel 6 Earth Success Cosmic-ray and X-ray satellite
1979  USA Voyager 1 Voyager 2 Jupiter Success Send back images of Jupiter and its system
1979  India Bhaskara-1 Earth Success 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  USSR Venus Success Venera 13 launched, it returned the first colour pictures of the surface of Venus
1981  USSR Venus Success Venera 14 flyby and lander
1981  Bulgaria Earth Success Bulgaria 1300, polar research mission, launched by the Soviet Union
1983  USSR Venus Success Venera 15 orbiter
1983  USSR 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  USSR Venus/Halley's Comet Success Vega 1 flyby, atmospheric probe and lander
1984  USSR 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  USSR Mars Failure Phobos 1 orbiter and lander
1988  USSR 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  USSR 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
1996  Argentina Earth Failure Sac-B Orbiter
1997  USA/ Europe Saturn and Titan Success Cassini-Huygens arrived in orbit on July 1, 2004, landed on Titan January 14, 2005
1997  Argentina Earth Success Nahuel 1A First Argentine satellite - geostationary communications satellites
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
1998  Argentina /  USA Earth Success Sac-A 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
2000  Argentina Earth Success SAC-C Orbiter
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, first sample return from asteroid, returned in 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  USA Comet Tempel 1 Success Deep Impact
2005  Japan Earth Partial success Launch of the Suzaku X-ray observatory (ASTRO-EII)
2005  USA Mars In orbit Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
2005  Iran Earth Success Sinah-1 launched, first Iranian-built satellite
2005  Europe Venus Success Venus Express
2006  USA Pluto Success New Horizons launched. On July 14th, 2015, New Horizons flew within 7,750 miles (12,472km) of Pluto.
2006  Japan Earth Success Launch of the Akari infrared observatory (ASTRO-F)
2006  France/ESA Earth Success COROT telescope to search for extrasolar planets
2007  USA Mars Success Phoenix launched and successfully landed in 2008
2007  Japan Moon Success SELENE orbiter and lander
2007  USA Vesta/Ceres In Ceres Orbit Dawn solar powered ion engined probe to 4 Vesta and 1 Ceres.
2007  China Moon Success Chang'e-I lunar orbiter
2007  Nigeria Earth Initial success NigComSat-1 launched by China, failed after 1 year
2008  USA Earth Launched, operating IBEX
2009  Europe L2 Success Planck (spacecraft)
2009  Europe L2 Success 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 Success 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 Partial success Akatsuki orbiter, first Japanese spacecraft to orbit another planet
2010  Japan Venus Success IKAROS, first solar-sail spacecraft
2010  China Moon Success Chang'e-2 lunar orbiter/impacter
2011  USA Jupiter Success Juno
2011  Russia Mars Failure Fobos-Grunt lander and sample return
2011  Nigeria Earth Success NigComSat-1 replacement launched by China
2011  Argentina /  USA Earth Success SAC-D Orbiter
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  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
2014  Europe Comet 67P Partial Success Rosetta and Philae, Third comet landing at unintended site in suboptimal orientation due to failure of surface anchoring system
2014  Poland Earth Launched Heweliusz, Second Polish scientific satellite
2014  Japan 162173 Ryugu Launched and en route Hayabusa 2, Second Japanese asteroid sample return spacecraft
2014  Japan 2000 DP107 Partial failure PROCYON deep space probe
2015  United States Earth-Sun L1 Success DSCOVR, Earth and space weather
2015  India Earth Success Astrosat, Space observatory
2016  European Union /  Russia Mars In transit ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, Mars orbiter and first ESA/Roscosmos Mars lander

References[edit]

External links[edit]