Launch of Mariner 1
|Mission type||Venus flyby|
|Operator||NASA / JPL|
|Mission duration||4 minutes, 53 seconds|
Failed to orbit
based on Ranger Block I
|Manufacturer||Jet Propulsion Laboratory|
|Launch mass||202.8 kilograms (447 lb)|
|Power||220 watts (at Venus encounter)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||July 22, 1962, 09:21:23UTC|
|Rocket||Atlas LV-3 Agena-B|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral LC-12|
Mariner 1 was a NASA spacecraft. It was the first spacecraft in the Mariner program. Mariner 1 was planned to do a Venus fly-by. However, it was destroyed by the Range Safety Officer 293 seconds after launch. It was destroyed because the rocket moved off course and was a safety risk. Mariner 1 was followed by Mariner 2.
Why it was destroyed[change | change source]
This section uses too much jargon, which needs explaining or simplifying.
The Atlas-Agena rocket was controlled by a hand-written formula:
Which means "the nth smoothed value of the time derivative of a radius R". However, for this mission, an overline (‾) was missing in the formula, which looks something like this:
Because the smoothing function was missing, the rocket became sensitive at minor changes. Then, the rocket became out of control and destroyed by the Range Safety Officer. Few years later, Arthur C. Clarke wrote that Mariner 1 was "wrecked by the most expensive hyphen in history".
References[change | change source]
- Neumann, Peter (May 27, 1989). "Mariner I – no holds BARred". Risks Digest. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Ceruzzi, Paul E. Ceruzzi (1989). Beyond the Limits: Flight Enters the Computer Age. ISBN 978-0262530828.
- "Planetary Probe History". Space FAQ. August 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2016 – via FAQs.org.
- The Promise of Space, Arthur C. Clarke, 1968, p. 225.
Other websites[change | change source]
- "Mariner 1". NASA. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Mariner 1". NASA. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Mariner 1-2". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Venus Shot Fails as Rocket Strays". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Mariner 1". Universe Today. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- "Mariners 1 & 2". ThinkQuest. Retrieved 2011-08-22.[dead link]
- "Mariner I -- no holds BARred". The Risks Digest. Retrieved 2011-08-23.