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Space Exploration

Mars Space Program

Mars spacecraft, planet Mars, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, orbiters, Cold War space race

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Mars (space program), series of spacecraft that the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) launched toward the planet Mars in the 1960s and 1970s. The Mars program spacecraft included fly-by spacecraft, orbiters, and landers. The USSR hoped to use human fascination with Mars to win highly visible victories in the Cold War space race with the United States. Soviet engineers tried for the first close-up photographs of Mars and the first non-crash landing on Mars; although the Mars spacecraft failed to meet these goals, they did manage the first Mars flyby, the first Martian orbit, and the first Mars surface impact.

Contributors

Portree, David S. F., B.A., M.S.

Freelance writer and space historian. Author of "Walking to Olympus: An EVA Chronology".



Article key phrases:

Mars spacecraft, planet Mars, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, orbiters, Cold War space race, landers, USSR, space program, goals, United States, close

 
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