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Unmanned space mission

(Redirected from Space probe)

Unmanned space missions are those using remote-controlled spacecraft. The first such mission was the Sputnik I mission, launched October 4, 1957. Some missions are more suitable for unmanned missions rather than manned space missions, due to lower cost and lower risk factors. Since the early 1970s, most unmanned space missions have been based on space probes with built-in mission computers, and as such may be classified as embedded systems.

Most American unmanned missions have been coordinated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and European missions by ESOC, part of ESA (the European Space Agency). ESA has conducted relatively few space exploration missions (one example is the Giotto mission, which encountered comet Halley). ESA has, however, launched various spacecraft to carry out astronomy, and is a collaborator with NASA on the Hubble Space Telescope. There has been a large number of very successful Russian space missions. There were also a few Japanese missions and the Chinese space program is preparing missions for the future.

Unmanned programs through the ages (first mission year given, if known):


Earth orbit and Lunar missions

Early Earth-orbital missions

Earth observation satellites

Communication satellites

Supply vessels

Lunar exploration

Solar System exploration

Mars Probes

See also

External links

  • ESA Unmanned Space Missions
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Last updated: 02-09-2005 05:47:19
Last updated: 02-21-2005 12:10:59