Pioneer 10 and 11

Author(s): DaveBowman2001 toutatis

Release date:

Last updated:

NASA's twin probes, Pioneer 10 and 11, were the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter and Saturn, and the first of (so far only) five spacecraft that achieve escape velocity from the Sun. Although the data sent back were of relatively poor quality compared to modern standards, and did not reach interstellar space while operational, it laid the groundwork for the success of all future missions to the outer solar system, starting with the Voyager program.

Pioneer Program
Mission Start End
Pioneer 10 1972-Mar-32003-Jan-23
First spacecraft to visit Jupiter in 1973. Most distant artificial object until 1997
Pioneer 11 1973-Apr-61995-Sept-30
First spacecraft to visit Saturn in 1979, after encountering Jupiter five years prior

An Atlas-Centaur launching Pioneer 10 (left) and Pioneer 11 (right)

The planets and moons visited by the two Pioneer probes, 1973-1979

Open in Celestia (Recommended) or Download

How to install add-ons? Find out here.