Mars 1969A

Mars 1969A

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Mars 2M No.521, also known as Mars M-69 No.521 and sometimes identified by NASA as Mars 1969A, was a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure in 1969. It consisted of an orbiter and a lander. The spacecraft was intended to image the surface of Mars using three cameras, with images being encoded for transmission back to Earth as television signals. It also carried a radiometer, a series of spectrometers, and an instrument to detect water vapour in the atmosphere of Mars
Atmosphere of Mars
The atmosphere of Mars is relatively thin and is composed mostly of carbon dioxide . There has been interest in studying its composition since the detection of trace amounts of methane, which may indicate the presence of life on Mars, but may also be produced by a geochemical process, volcanic or...

. It was one of two Mars 2M spacecraft, along with Mars 2M No.522, which was launched in 1969 as part of the Mars programme. Neither launch was successful.

Mars 2M No.521 was launched at 10:40:45 UTC on 27 March 1969 atop a Proton-K
Proton-K
The Proton-K, also designated Proton 8K82K after its GRAU index, 8K82K, is a Russian, previously Soviet, carrier rocket derived from the earlier Proton. It was built by Khrunichev, and is launched from sites 81 and 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan...

 8K78K carrier rocket with a Blok D
Block D
Blok D is an upper stage used on Soviet and later Russian expendable launch systems, including the N1, Proton-K and Zenit. There were plans to use it for some other rockets as well ....

 upper stage, flying from Site 81/23
Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 81
Site 81 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome is a launch site used, along with Site 200, by Proton rockets. It consists of two launch pads, areas 23 and 24. Area 24 is currently used for Proton-K and Proton-M launches, while Area 23 is currently inactive....

 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
The Baikonur Cosmodrome , also called Tyuratam, is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, about east of the Aral Sea, north of the Syr Darya river, near Tyuratam railway station, at 90 meters above sea level...

. Fifty one seconds after launch, the payload fairing
Payload fairing
Payload fairing is one of the main components of a launch vehicle. The fairing protects the payload during the ascent against the impact of the atmosphere . More recently, an additional function is to maintain the cleanroom environment for precision instruments.Outside the atmosphere the fairing is...

 failed, however the rocket continued to fly normally. During third stage flight, a rotor bearing failed, and the turbopump
Turbopump
A turbopump is a gas turbine that comprises basically two main components: a rotodynamic pump and a driving turbine, usually both mounted on the same shaft, or sometimes geared together...

 caught fire. This resulted in an engine failure which occurred 438.66 seconds into the flight, followed by the third stage exploding. Debris fell over the Altai Mountains.

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