The Viking Mars Mission

By The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Dedicated to the men and women of Viking and their families.

Viking was the first successful landed Mars mission.  It launched in 1975, and landed in 1976. But it began much earlier... The Viking Mars Missions Education & Preservation Project brings you the Viking story. This first release of the exhibit will guide you through the mission using the original Bulletins from the mission, engineering and planning documents, and captions from interviews with the Vikings themselves. We will share the mission from beginning to end with planning, engineering and science content, and personal insights from the viewpoints of more than 80 Viking Team Members we have interviewed. We will continue to add new content over the next several months, as we curate our extensive library.                         Click anywhere on navigation bar at the bottom of the page to go to specific documents or Mission Phases, and view entire documents, scroll, or zoom, by clicking on each content item.

The January 22-24, 1968 AAIA Meeting Lunar Orbiter Mission Design Report The January 22-24, 1968 AAIA Meeting Lunar Orbiter Mission Design Report, AIAA, 1968-01, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Click on this document to view all pages. Each page can be expanded and scrolled in order to read the detailed content and view diagrams at a larger scale.

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Planning

Every Missions begin with ideation and planning even before the Project or Program Office is formed and continue through numerous Phases. At the highest level these are Pre Launch Planning, Mission Flight Operations, and Primary Mission during which the scientific objectives are being met. Scientific primary objectives however the drivers for missions, and help to define the mission design and plan. These science objectives can begin any time after launch and continue through past primary mission into extended missions. For the purposes of understanding Viking at a high level, this section will discuss and share content from the mission science objectives and high level plan, up to the pre-launch design engineering phase. During this Planning phase, proposals are made to funding sources (in the case of Viking, government funds), and a primary Contractor is selected, which for Viking included choosing the NASA Office that would manage the project, NASA Langley Research Center, and selecting primary contractor, Martin Marietta and a few secondary vendors for the science instrument development. For Viking, selecting the Project Office location was critical, as the mission required many firsts, and equally many unknowns. In the words of Mission Designer Norman Crabill, Viking was "ambitious and audacious", but the team rose to the occasion, met obstacles head on, took calculated risks, and succeeded because of the phenomenal team members and the strong leadership of Jim Martin. NASA Langley was chosen in large part because of their expertise and success leading the Lunar Orbiter missions, which included the important first of Site Selection for the upcoming Apollo missions. Their exceptional performance and team experience and skill made them the choice team to lead the Viking mission. Other key elements of the mission were assigned to the experts at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, because of their extensive experience designing and building Orbiters and their exemplary performance in Mission Operations. Then began the creation of oversight teams for each major element: Mission Design and Planning, Science Objectives, Engineering, Mission Operations, and Integration. These documents cover the early objectives of the mission as they were communicated to the public to help people understand how the Viking mission would proceed. 

NASA Facts Educational Bulletin NASA Facts Educational Bulletin, NASA, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Click on the document to see additional pages. Zoom and pan are available for each page to see the images, words, and diagrams in detail.

Viking Mars Missions' Lander and System Integration proposal by Martin Marietta 1969. Viking Mars Missions' Lander and System Integration proposal by Martin Marietta 1969. (1969-04) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

To view the entire 399 page document, click on the document icon in the lower left corner of the screen.
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This document is the original Viking Mars Missions' Lander and System Integration proposal by Martin Marietta to NASA Langley’s Viking Project Office in 1969.

This proposal was a response to the NASA Langley Request for Proposals for the mission, and was based on numerous years of study by Martin Marietta staff beginning in the early 1960s when the company was based in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Team that constructed the proposal were individuals hand selected for the Viking Project, many of whom were moved by Martin Marietta to Littleton, Colorado, specifically for the mission.

Also competing for the Viking Project elements, were numerous other contractors and NASA Centers including JPL, GE, Boeing, TRW, and many others. After all proposals were in, the Viking Project Office Team reviewed them for numerous criteria, and Martin Marietta was selected for the Lander Design, Test, and Build, as well as procurement of the science instruments and the overall integration of spacecraft systems.

In addition, Martin Marietta separately won the contract for the Launch system, which was a Titan III-E with Centaur upper stage.

The expertise of the Martin Marietta staff was deep and broad, and resulted in additional assignments throughout the project phases including Mission Flight Team and Mission Operations. Martin Marietta also designed, developed and managed a Science Instrument on the Lander, the X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRFS) instrument.

This Proposal includes details of the primary elements for the mission as they were originally proposed, as well as processes and touch points between vendors and NASA and the organizational and decision making processes.

The Proposal was part of the bidding process to win the contract for these elements. As such, it is different than the final "As Built" document which we will also include in the exhibit.

This document contains the primary elements for each functional system as well as the integration and testing processes and is an excellent example of how much work went into the research for the mission prior to even winning the contract.

Substantial early investment was made by Martin Marietta through company investment NASA-sponsored Internal Research and Development Program (IRAD) funding.

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Today individuals have roles at contracting and space agencies that dictate who will lead various efforts. There is a lot of negotiation to win the contracts, but those that execute and implement, frequently have their roles pre-existing and they move from mission to mission, with the exception of the Mission Principal Investigators and Science Team Leaders that may have contributed to the Primary Mission Design.

This was not so with Viking. For the Viking mission, many members were hand picked to work on the mission from each institute and center.

Viking got its start before the Project Office was assigned, with a small group of individuals and an earlier ambitious Mars mission called Voyager. The Voyager mission was planning to launch two orbiters and two landers on each of two Saturn V launch vehicles. Voyager was not ultimately funded but the group remained focused on Mars as the most interesting and viable option for Planetary exploration which led to the second proposal which ultimately became Viking.

The mission question "Why Mars" was addressed by scientists and leaders from all over, that later contributed to and led Viking teams: Dr. Gerald Soffen, Dr. Richard S. Young, Dr. Tobias Owen, Dr. Harold P. Klein, Dr. Seymour L. Hess, Dr. Hugh F. Kieffer, Dr. Crofton B. Farmer, Dr. Thomas A. Mutch, Dr. Richard W. Shorthill, Dr. Robert B. Hargraves, Dr. Don L. Anderson, Dr. Priestly Toulmin III, Dr. Klaus Biemann, Dr. Michael B. McElroy and many others contributed to the dialogue that would shape the Viking mission objectives. These and other contributing Team members were led by Jim Martin, Israel Tabak, Dr. Soffen, R.S. Young, A. Thomas Young, and Conway Snyder, the team that participated the successful Lunar Orbiter missions, and originated the first Mars Voyager mission.

These individuals paved the way to Mars.

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Martin Marietta won the Primary Contractor role for the Viking Mission, and had the unique perspective and opportunity to lead development of systems from the Titan III-E launch vehicle, to the Mars Lander, as well as playing the critical systems integration management.

Martin Marietta's commitment to the Viking mission began long before the Project Office was formed in 1969, as they worked closely with NASA in early Research projects for systems from entry and descent, to computing and sequencing design and science software and interface development and testing.

In addition, Martin Marietta developed a laboratory and moved individuals from Baltimore to Littleton Colorado, all in preparation for the Viking mission.

Many of these individuals had worked on the the Martin Company proposal for the LEM for the Apollo mission.

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking was successful because of individuals from around the globe. This was most prominent due to the tracking stations in Madrid, Spain and Canberra, Australia that equally supported the mission along with the US based Goldstone Station in California.

The very leadership of the DSN tracking system during Viking, Douglas Mudgway, hailed from New Zealand, though he found his home in California, at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managing the DSN Stations all over the world. Mr. Mudgway was the Manager for all the earth bound tracking station facilities during the "Viking era" which he refers to in his book "Uplink Downlink" as 1974-1978. He continued after Viking to lead in this role through missions until his retirement in 1991.

Others ran the Stations locally, at Honeysuckle and Tidbinbilla tracking stations in Australia, such as Tom Reid, Director of Tidbinbilla, Milton Turner, who handled public affairs queries for Tidbinbilla, Hamish Lindsay, John Saxon, and support roles such as Barbara Stratford, Secretary to the Director of Tidbinbilla.

In Spain, at the Madrid Deep Station Communications Complex, the same roles existed filled by capable individuals including Carlos Gonzalez, OPS Supervisor working on the OPS consoles communicating with JPL during maneuvers.

All these men and women served as part of the communications "lifeline" to the craft, as commands were sent and data returned through the DSN (Deep Space Network) making every aspect of the mission possible, and living every key moment from launch in 1975 to the end of the extended mission in 1982.

These are just a few individuals we have been in contact with who worked on this element. If you know of others, please have them contact the project at info@thevikingpreservationproject.org

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking Overview booklet created by Martin Marietta (1972) by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Educational poster Orbital Science (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Viking mission was driven by the Science objectives. These were set before the Project Office was formed based on years of inquiry and research by communities of scientists worldwide that resulted in a 1965 report by the Space Sciences Board of the National Academy of Sciences. They recommended 3 goals: The understand: The origin and evolution of the solar system, the origin and evolution of life, and the dynamic processes that shape man's terrestrial environment.

In addition, both the Viking Orbiters and the Landers had their own mission and science objectives.

The Orbiters were to:
- Guide the spacecraft to Mars orbit
- Survey landing sites
- Support the Landers with power, ground generated commands, and downlink data during flight
- Carry out scientific studies of Mars from orbit
- Act as communications relay station for the Landers

This series of posters was created to accompany the 1977 COSPAR conference in Tel Aviv. They were created by the same individuals that developed the later period Viking Bulletins.

Educational poster Science Platform (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Science Platform for the Orbiters were mounted on what was referred to as the "scan platform" on the orbiter body, facing the Mars surface. The instruments on the platform were called the "Science Platform".

These included: a pair of high resolution, slow scan TV cameras with filters controlled by ground command; and infared atmospheric water detector (MAWD); and a high resolution infrared thermal mapper. Additionally, Radio Science was conducted which was based on data from both the Orbiters and Landers.

As the orbiters move around the planet surface, the instruments scanned the surface and create 'maps' of information for later study of the geologic features of the planet. These maps were visual image maps of the surface used to characterize the surface and to assist in choosing sites for the Landers, as well as data from the surface which would be correlated to the locations to create maps with iconic or color representation of temperature variations on the surface and moisture in the atmosphere.

In addition to Site Selection (choosing landing sites) and image mapping the surface, the results of these investigations were used to map large scale features of the landing sites for correlation with the lander data, and to investigate the atmosphere of Mars.

Educational poster Orbital Radio Science (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Using the radio signals and tracking measurements, scientists were able to study Mars and aspects of the inner solar system.

As the orbiters fly through space, the signals are affected by objects around them providing clues to scientists.

Data helped to measure surface reflectivity, redefine the orbit and mass of Mars which were based on earlier incomplete and rudimentary data sets, estimate the density of Martian ionosphere, measure atmospheric turbulence, effects of atmospheric drag, and the delay time caused by the sun during superior conjunction (when Mars passes behind the sun).

Educational poster Radio Science (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Principal Investigator for Radio Science was William H. Michael of Langley Research Center.

The Radio Science investigation included data from both the Orbiters and Landers.

Educational poster Lander Science (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Viking Landers had two primary objectives:

1) Land safely
2) Perform the science investigations

These investigations included instruments to further understand the physical, meteorological, seismological, chemical, geological, biological, and magnetic properties of Mars.

Scientists that led these investigations came from academic and commercial organizations and governmental organizations such as US Geologic Survey and NASA Centers around the country.

Investigators represented Academic Institutes including Brown University, CalTech, Florida State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota, Princeton University, University of Texas, University of Utah, and more.

Educational poster Soil Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Soil Chemistry Investigations consisted of three focus areas, intended to characterize the soil on the Mars surface.

The Molecular (Organic) Investigation, used a Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer developed under the direction of Dr. Klaus Biemann at MIT. This instrument focused on chemical analysis and differed from the Biology experiments in a variety of ways but fundamentally was focused on determining if the right constituents were present for past of future life forms as we know them, to exist.

In contrast, the Biology experiments were focused identifying extent "life forms" or positive indicators of biological processes.

The Biology Investigation itself had three experiments, each using a different methodology to determine whether life forms might be present. These included the pyrolytic release, the labeled release, and the gas exchange. The Lead Investigator for the Biology Team was Harold P. Klein using instruments developed by other individuals including Dr. Gil Levin, who developed the Labelled Release experiment referred to as "Gulliver" before it was integrated into the Viking mission.

The "Mineralology" or geochemistry investigation used the X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer to analyze the chemical elements in the Martian soil. This Investigation was led by Dr. Priestley Toulmin III and Dr. Ben Clark based on an instrument developed and submitted to the project by Dr. Ben Clark.

Educational poster Biology Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Viking was the first Mars surface mission, focused on determining the possibility of past or present life on the planet.

The question, "Are we alone?" has been presented in literature and art for centuries, in cultures around the world. But Viking made this question a topic of conversation in homes and institutes around the world real, with biological and chemical data and images for the first time.

With the mission objective communicated by the Press to identify "life", public expectations were immediately set, and what began as a scientific investigation, quickly became in the press and public, a success or failure scenario, with the public in addition to scientists acting as judge.

Regardless which side Vikings agree with, it was a surprise to many interviewed, that 40 years later additional follow-on missions did not get occur. The big question that comes up in interviews with Viking team members is, why was another mission with additional instruments to detect life, not sent immediately following Viking? For those Viking that continued to work with Mars missions, it was immediately clear that the cost of sterilization was prohibitive. Following Viking, there were also fundamental shifts that changed the direction from in situ testing to sample return missions. Research was done and proposals submitted for follow on missions, but they were discarded or not funded largely due to costs.

Most important, is the incredible body of science the diverse investigations did create, and vast image library provided by Viking, that has become a resource for all subsequent missions.

Viking was unquestionably an enormous success, not solely for the new information on the characteristics of the surface and soil, but the atmospheric, and physical properties and deep body of knowledge provided.

Educational poster Biology Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Because these experiments were conducted in the 1970s with limited hardware capabilities, even the theoretical pursuit of findings was ambitious. Results produced in a lab on Earth were significantly more difficult to determine on Mars. Nonetheless, the instruments performed exceptionally based on their limitations, and not too surprisingly, the results were interpreted differently by various reviewing bodies despite meeting the initial criteria for a 'positive' results determination.
Today, continued studies offer arguments for and against the possibility of positive biologic response from Viking. Efforts continue by Viking Biology Team member Dr. Gil Levin, Dr. Patricia Straat, to reevaluate the findings in an effort to demonstrate the results were positive.

Another challenge was relating science fact in terms that could be comprehended by layman, and the institutes responsible for communicating results were under extreme scrutiny when the results came in. Thus the dialogue about results have not been effectively communicated to the public, and the Viking argument continues to this day... "Did Viking detect Life?"
The results had human and scientific impact, and many were discouraged with the announcements by NASA. However, it was not predicted that it would be 20 years before another mission, Pathfinder, was sent to the surface.

Educational poster Biology Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Biology Team Scientists were Team Leader Dr. Harold P. Klein of NASA Ames Research Center, Dr. Norman Horowitz, Dr. Joshua Lederberg of Stanford University, Dr. Gilbert Levin of Biospherics, Dr. Vance Oyama of NASA Ames Research Center, and Dr. Alexander Rich of MIT.

Educational poster Biology Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Educational poster Biology Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Educational poster Organic Molecular Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Educational poster Organic Molecular Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Educational poster Inorganic Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The X-ray Florescence Spectrometer was used to analyze the chemical elements in the Martian soil.

The Inorganic Chemistry Team included Team Leader Priestly Toulmin III from the USGS, Dr. Benton Clark of Martin Marietta, Dr. Alex K. Baird of Pomona College, Dr. Klaus Keil of the University of New Mexico, and Dr. Harry Rose of the USGS.

Interviews with Dr. Benton Clark have provided substantial additional material and that will be included in later Exhibits focused on the Science of Viking.

Educational poster Inorganic Chemistry (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Educational poster Magnetic Properties (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Magnetic Properties Team was led by Dr. Robert Hargraves of Princeton University and USGS.

The instrument development was contracted to Raytheon Inc.

Educational poster Magnetic Properties (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Educational poster Atmospheric Surface Science (1975) by NASAThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Meteorology Investigation may not have been the primary focus of the mission, but it ended up providing the most extensive science baseline of any of the instruments, as a result of the extended missions.

After the 90 day Primary Mission, the meteorology instrument, cameras, and orbiters continued to operate, and Viking team members petitioned to continue the mission.

The Meteorology Instrument continued beyond all other instruments until 1982.

During this period the longest baseline of Mars atmospheric data was collected, providing future scientists and engineers to better understand the Mars weather and atmosphere for science and future missions. The extended mission was managed by Viking Team Member James E. Tillman, in coordination with the tracking stations in Goldstone, CA, Madrid, Spain, and Australia's Honeysuckle and Tidbinbilla. The Mission Operations was conducted at JPL.

This was important beyond just understanding the characteristics, but to plan future missions, which would consider temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind direction and wind speed. Measurements were taken from both the meteorology boom and the footpad, to gain an understanding of the differences between surface readings and readings taken from the extended position of the boom.

A deep presentation of this instrument can be found in the Critical Design Review document in the Pre Launch section of the Exhibit. Included are engineering drawings, materials, test plans and other requirements and specifications.

Additional materials will be available that may enable viewers to build their own meteorology instruments, and learn in depth about the Viking instrumentation, design, testing, and results.

SNAP-19 testing Martin Marietta by Martin MariettaThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Before Launch

The images and documents in this section represent the mission at a high level the design-build-test-tweak-test more cycle, to the "as built" final craft up until launch. Where we have technical documents such as planning or design documents, you may click on them to see the many pages of diagrams, plans, materials, and other content. Some diagrams are large and require zoom and pan, which are available once you select the document. Enjoy these first releases in our exhibit and come back periodically to experience more, as we curate over the next several months. 

The January 10-13 1977 Viking Mission Design and Implementation Report The January 10-13 1977 Viking Mission Design and Implementation Report, AIAA, 1977-01, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Click on the document to see additional pages. Zoom and pan are available for each page to see the images, words, and diagrams in detail.

Facsimile camera test image, of Martin Marietta taken June 1974., Martin Marietta, The Viking Mars Missions Education & Preservation Project (VMMEPP), 1974, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Imaging was a critical discipline needed to add to the body of knowledge of the Martian surface. Images from Mariner 4 and 9 gave us our first glimpse of Mars, but it wasn't until the Viking Orbiters mapped the planet with higher resolution images, and the Lander facsimile cameras captured the first views of the surface that we were able to mature our view of Mars beyond theory to conviction.

Mars channels, clearly indicating previous water flows, frost and small rivulets hinting at extent water sources though still unexplained, and many other clues that provided the baseline of the body of Mars knowledge that still guides Mars exploration today.

The imaging techniques that were first used on Apollo Lunar Orbiters to map the surface were also used on Viking Orbiters. However the facsimile cameras were used on the Landers to provide detailed panoramic views of the surface. This also contributed to the missions ability to survey the craft as well as the environment for an understanding of the state of various systems such as the meteorology boom and soil sampler.

Testing for the facsimile cameras was done at Martin Marietta during integration. This image shows a wide panoramic view taken by the Viking test cameras.

Viking Test Lander photo by Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Daigram of Rocket engine process flow, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Rocket Engine Assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander during assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander during assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking rocket test, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photos Viking Lander rocket engine testing Photos Viking Lander rocket engine testingThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Click on the image icons in the lower left of your screen to see the whole series of images taken during pressure testing of the rocket engines.

Note the changes on the pressure gauge in the lower left of the image. Each cone was tested independently and in sequence to ensure the engines would fire as needed for a smooth descent to the Mars surface.

The rocket engines were developed by Rocket Research in Redmond, Washington, and were integrated into the Lander at Martin Marietta in Littleton, Colorado.

When you are done viewing the sequence of images, click the X in the upper right of the image enlarged to return to the main viewing screen.

Viking rocket engines in testing, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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The testing period was filled with challenges and tension, and humor was a major ally to relieve the stress and restore team spirit.

Cartoons by Vikings as well as professional cartoonists became as much a part of the mission expectation as reports and memos. Even the public began to expect updates to testing and mission operations via these sometimes edgy images.

The complete archive of cartoons by and about Viking will be published in an upcoming Exhibit.

Viking rocket test, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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The Viking retro rockets being packed for a flight from Rocket Research in Redmond, Washington to Martin Marietta for integration into the Viking Lander.

Black and white photo of the Viking final rocket engines, Rocket Research (Aerojet Rocketdyne), From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Newspaper article on the first class flight of the Viking rocket engines, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander during assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander during assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander during assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 testing Martin Marietta, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking RTG Test Interface, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 testing Martin Marietta, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP 19 testing Martin Marietta, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 testing Martin Marietta, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander during phase of RTG assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Page 1, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Page 2, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Page 3, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Page 4, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Page 5, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Page 6, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Diagram 1, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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SNAP-19 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Fact Sheet by Energy Research & Development Administration (ERDA) Diagram 2, The Energy Research and Development Administration, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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TRW Meteorology Instrument CRD (Critical Design Review) Book II TRW Meteorology Instrument CRD (Critical Design Review) Book II (1972-09) by TRWThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Click on the document to see additional pages. Zoom and pan are available for each page to see the images, words, and diagrams in detail.

This document contains the final design drawings, specifications, and details used for the Meteorology instrument.

Cartoon by Viking Team member, Tom Nelson, Tom Nelson, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander aeroshell during assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of RTG installation in Viking Lander, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Photo of Lander during phase of RTG assembly, Martin Marietta, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Operation Status Bulletin No1_March-31-1975 Page 1 (1975-03-31) by NASA Viking Project OfficeThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

The Viking Mission Bulletins

The Viking Mission Bulletins kept the press and public up to date on the mission, and were hand assembled and typeset by a small group of individuals, some of whom came from roles performed in earlier phases in the mission, or were dedicated to the communications during mission operations. The first Bulletins from 1-19 were created by Stan Hench in the JPL graphics shop. As the mission progressed, however, a dedicated team was assigned to develop them and manage many other communications medium including Speakers. This group was led by Gary Price of the NASA Langley Project Office, and following the "badge-less" model of the Viking program, included individuals from a variety of contracted institutes. The Chief Editor and visionary behind the Bulletins that led the change in format and added photo imaging and deep technical and mission content, was Duke Reiber. Duke managed the production of the bulletins, as well as conducting interviews with the Viking Team members, and writing and editing the content. Duke and his teammate Louise Beard, the expert typesetter, and proofreader from the JPL Graphics shop worked long hours to keep the public aware of the operations and discoveries. The bulletins were created by hand on a drafting board with an exacto knife and hot-wax adhesive, each page becoming its own storyboard or "mechanical". They were printed in JPLs own in-house print shop, where they shot the page and halftone negatives, transferred the pages to printing plates, and ran the press runs. After  Another team member Rodger Waldman kept the public in contact with the mission through Viking team Speakerships. During the extended mission an illustrator, Ed Sedor was added to the team. These Bulletins are digital curated originals from the Viking mission, and are part of the VMMEPP Artifact Library. 

Mission Operations Status Bulletin No 18, NASA Viking Project Office, 1976-03-19, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Mission Operations Status Bulletin No 18, NASA Viking Project Office, 1976-03-19, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Mission Status Bulletin No 29, NASA Viking Project Office, 1976-06-21, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Mission Status Bulletin No 29, NASA Viking Project Office, 1976-06-21, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Mission Status Bulletin No 45 (1976-10-21) by NASA Viking Project OfficeThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Martin Marietta News Number 9 Martin Marietta News Number 9, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Click on this document to view all pages. Each page can be expanded and scrolled in order to read the detailed content and view diagrams at a larger scale.

Mission Operations Flight plan document by NASA Langley Research CenterThe Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project

Mission Operations

Mission Operations never really ends until a mission is ended and no more communications are sent to the craft, but it begins with developing protocol for flight, training flight team members in procedures for planned and unplanned scenarios, developing schedules and command sequences and providing those items well in advance of launch to the teams that build the instruments and communication systems that will relay commands to the craft and perform a variety of functions at specific times to meet the mission design requirements. And there is always something unexpected, so building simulations of the flight plans and testing them is critically important. The Mission Design Team who were some of the first members of the Project Office had to design the mission to determine the launch windows, flight trajectories and course corrections. Interviews with Mission Designer Norman Crabill, and other Mission Planners such as John Newcomb provided insight into how these early plans were developed. When the NASA Mission Director, Jim Martin, Chief Scientist Dr. Gerald Soffen, and NASA Leadership prepared to choose the Project Office, their focus was twofold: safe passage and science objectives. The details for the Mission Operations included the Mission Profile which consisted of identifying the items above as well as selecting the launch vehicle that could meet the criteria for launch, flight and landing, or "flight summary". The documents in this initial release will highlight some aspects of these phases, but will be substantially more detailed over time as we continue to curate.

Mission Operations Flight plan document, NASA Langley Research Center, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Operation Status Bulletin No1_March-31-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-03-31, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Operation Status Bulletin No2_April-14-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-04-14, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Operation Status Bulletin No2_April-14-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-04-14, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Operation Status Bulletin No3_April-25-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-04-25, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Operation Status Bulletin No3_April-25-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-04-25, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No4_May-09-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-05-09, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No4_May-09-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-05-09, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No5_May-26-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-05-26, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No5_May-26-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-05-26, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No6_June-09-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-06-09, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No6_June-09-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-06-09, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No7_June-23-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-06-23, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No7_June-23-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-06-23, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Sterlization Reference Booklet. Martin Marietta May 1967 Viking Sterlization Reference Booklet. Martin Marietta May 1967, Martin Marietta, 1967-05, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Click on this document to view all pages. Each page can be expanded and scrolled in order to read the detailed content and view diagrams at a larger scale. ------------------------------ As early as 1958 Lederberg and Cowie introduced concepts of Planetary protection, and by 1964 Carl Sagan, Coleman and other scientists agreed upon a framework - COSPAR Resolution No. 26 for developing quarantine standards. Viking was the first mission to apply the standards in practice, which later became known as the "Viking" standard.

These criteria were set by an international COSPAR community, many of whom were focused on the search for life such as Harold P. Klein, and others who would become leading scientists on the Viking mission.

Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No8_July-08-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-07-08, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No8_July-08-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-07-08, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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White House Memo approving SNAP 19, United States White House, 1975, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No9_July-29-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-07-29, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No9_July-29-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-07-29, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No9_July-29-1975 Page 3, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-07-29, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No9_July-29-1975 Page 4, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-07-29, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No10_August-20-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-08-20, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No10_August-20-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-08-20, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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TODAY Newspaper article on Viking Launch, TODAY Newsmagazine, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No11_August-20-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-08-20, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Flyer by NASA LaRC, NASA, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking 1 Launch at Cape Canaveral View 1, George Greene, 1975, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking 1 Launch at Cape Canaveral View 2, George Greene, 1975, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No12_Sept-10-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-09-10, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viking Mission Launch Operation Status Bulletin No12_Sept-10-1975 Page 2, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-09-10, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Image from Viking 1 launch, Jim Masson, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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The Viking Titan craft carrying the Orbiter and Lander lifted off on August 20th 1975 from Cape Canaveral, Florida

Image from Viking 1 launch, Jim Masson, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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The Titan IIIE, know as Titan 3E, or Titan III-Centaur launch vehicle, lifted off using solid state rockets with 2.4 million pounds of thrust for 117 seconds until "burn out".

Image from Viking 1 launch, Jim Masson, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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After liftoff and "burn out", the liquid fueled first stage ignited and provided 523,000 pounds of thrust for 153 seconds, followed by second stage providing 102,000 pounds of thrust for 208 seconds.

Ten seconds after second stage ignition, the Centaur shroud which protects the spacecraft and the Centaur upper stage during launch, is jettisoned.

This burn lasts 126 seconds to insert the craft into an Earth parking orbit at an altitude of 115 miles. This prepares the craft for correction and orientation to propel the spacecraft into trans-Mars trajectory.

Image from Viking 1 launch, Jim Masson, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Viewers could see the Viking spacecraft launch from the launch complex at the Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Image from Viking 1 launch, Jim Masson, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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Operations at Cape Canaveral during Viking 1 launch. Staff included individuals from NASA, Martin Marietta, and the Cape facility as well as experts in launch safety that were present for every launch.

Viking Mission Operation Status Bulletin No13_Nov-10-1975 Page 1, NASA Viking Project Office, 1975-11-10, From the collection of: The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
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