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Mars 1989
Mars 1989 - Version of the Mars 1989 shown by RKK Energia in 1990

Credit: via Steven S. Pietrobon. 10,850 bytes. 259 x 801 pixels.

Class: Manned. Type: Mars Expedition. Nation: Russia. Manufacturer: Korolev.

In 1989 yet another Mars project was proposed by NPO Energia. The spacecraft hardware was essentially that of the 1986 design, in place of the nuclear reactor of previous designs power would be generated by huge farms of solar panels, developed from those on the Salyut 7 and Mir stations. The spacecraft itself became part of a more logical program with sequential launch of evolving hardware, beginning with unmanned spacecraft and ending with piloted expeditions. Five launches of the huge Energia booster would be required to assemble the spacecraft in low earth orbit. Mission specification was as follows:

The ship designed to perform this mission would have a mass of 355 tonnes.

This would be apportioned among the modules as follows:

In order to clear the earth's radiation belts as quickly as possible, the mission profile began with a relatively 'high thrust' acceleration by the engines in a spiral from low earth orbit to 40,000 km. This altitude would be achieved in 29 days. Thereafter the engines would shift into their normal regime, with a lower thrust but higher specific impulse. The spacecraft would reach escape velocity after a total of 100 days of firing, followed by a 270 day coast to Mars. A 38 day braking manoeuvre would bring the spacecraft into Mars orbit. 30 days would be spent in Mars orbit, during one week of which the crew would descend to the surface. It would take 28 days to accelerate away from Mars, followed by a 250 day coast to earth. The crew would enter their return vehicle and re-enter the earth's atmosphere at 13.5 km/sec.

This evolutionary approach to the exploration of Mars was to be conducted in three phases:

Of course by the late 1980's all such studies by GKB NPO Energia were only a way to usefully occupy the engineers of the corporation and had no chance of authorisation.


Craft.Crew Size: 4. Design Life: 716 days. Total Length: 600.0 m. Maximum Diameter: 4.1 m. Total Mass: 355,000 kg. Primary Engine Thrust: 45 kgf. Main Engine Propellants: Xenon. Main Engine Isp: 4,000 sec. Electric system: 15,000.00 total average kW. Electrical System: Solar panels, 2 x 200 m x 200 m.

Mars 1989Mars 1989 - NPO Energia solar-powered Mars expedition spacecraft of 1989. The complete extent of the vast 200 m x 200 m solar panels is not shown.

Credit: © Mark Wade. 11,044 bytes. 320 x 355 pixels.

Mars 1989 Chronology

01 January 1989 Manned Mars project proposal

In 1989 yet another ion engine-powered Mars project was proposed by NPO Energia. In the place of the nuclear reactor of previous designs, solar panels would be deployed in huge farms of panels.


EA Ascent StageEA Ascent Stage - The Ascent Stage of the EA Mars Lander fires to launch the crew back to Mars orbit and rendezvous with the waiting Mars 1986 or 1989 expedition craft.

Credit: RKK Energia. 22,276 bytes. 310 x 238 pixels.

EA LanderEA Lander - EA Lander on Mars. Note the cyldindrical air lock that has deployed from the belly, the landing legs, the aerodynamic surfaces on the tail, and the small Marsokhod rover on the surface.

Credit: RKK Energia. 25,982 bytes. 307 x 237 pixels.

Aelita MartianAelita Martian - Wishful thinking - a Martian peeks from a crater after the EA Lander departs for orbit. Frame from an RKK Energia film.

Credit: RKK Energia. 23,027 bytes. 311 x 239 pixels.

Mars 1989Mars 1989 - NPO Energia solar-powered Mars expedition spacecraft of 1989.

Credit: RKK Energia. 12,728 bytes. 323 x 206 pixels.

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Last update 3 May 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .