General Astronomy/Pioneers and Voyagers

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Pioneer Missions[edit]

The Pioneer missions can be broken into some distinct groups:

  1. Able space probes. (1958 - 1960)
    • Pioneer 0 (Thor-Able 1, Pioneer) – Lunar orbiter, destroyed (Thor failure 77 seconds after launch) August 17, 1958
    • Pioneer 1 (Thor-Able 2, Pioneer I) – Lunar orbiter, missed Moon (third stage partial failure) October 11, 1958
    • Pioneer 2 (Thor-Able 3, Pioneer II) – Lunar orbiter, reentry (third stage failure) November 8, 1958
    • Pioneer P-1 (Atlas-Able 4A, Pioneer W), probe lost September 24, 1959
    • Pioneer P-3 (Atlas-Able 4, Atlas-Able 4B, Pioneer X) – Lunar probe, lost in launcher failure November 26, 1959
    • Pioneer 5 (Pioneer P-2, Thor-Able 4, Pioneer V) – interplanetary space between Earth and Venus, launched March 11, 1960.
    • Pioneer P-30 (Atlas-Able 5A, Pioneer Y) – Lunar probe, failed to achieve lunar orbit September 25, 1960.
    • Pioneer P-31 (Atlas-Able 5B, Pioneer Z) – Lunar probe, lost in upper stage failure December 15, 1960.
  2. Juno II lunar probes. (1958 - 1959)
    • Pioneer 3 - Lunar flyby, launch failure. (December 6, 1958).
    • Pioneer 4 - Flyby, achieved escape velocity (March 3, 1959).
  3. Later Missions (1965 - 1978)
    • Pioneer 6 (Pioneer A) – launched December 1965.
    • Pioneer 7 (Pioneer B) – launched August 1966.
    • Pioneer 8 (Pioneer C) – launched December 1967.
    • Pioneer 9 (Pioneer D) – launched November 1968 (defunct since 1983).
    • Pioneer E – lost in launcher failure August 1969
  4. Outer Solarsystem missions.
    • Pioneer 10 (Pioneer F) – Jupiter, interstellar medium, launched March 1972.
    • Pioneer 11 (Pioneer G) – Jupiter, Saturn, interstellar medium, launched April 1973.
    • Pioneer H – identical to Pioneers 10 and 11, but never launched.
  5. Pioneer Venus project
    • Pioneer Venus Orbiter (Pioneer Venus 1, Pioneer 12) – launched December 1978
    • Pioneer Venus Multiprobe (Pioneer Venus 2, Pioneer 13) – launched August 1978
      1. Pioneer Venus Probe Bus – transport vehicle and upper atmosphere probe
      2. Pioneer Venus Large Probe – 300 kg parachuted probe
      3. Pioneer Venus North Probe – 75 kg impactor probe
      4. Pioneer Venus Night Probe – 75 kg impactor probe
      5. Pioneer Venus Day Probe – 75 kg impactor probe

Dates are years of mission launches.

Voyager Missions[edit]

The voyager missions were launched in order to study the outer solar system.

Voyager 1 
Studied Jupiter, Saturn and is trudging on towards the heliopause. Presently the farthest human-made object from Earth.
Voyager 2 
Studied Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Launched after, but with a higher velocity than Voyager 1.