|The crew of a piloted flyby spacecraft prepares to retrieve the upper stage of a Mars Surface Sample Returner probe. Image credit: NASA.
In the 1960s NASA expended at least as much study effort on piloted missions that would fly past Mars and Venus without stopping as it did on missions to land crews on Mars. Piloted flybys were seen as a low-cost stepping stone linking Apollo lunar landings and staffed space stations in Earth orbit with piloted planetary landing missions. It is in that context that we must judge and try to understand them today.
Chronology is a vital component of history. In this blog, however, my posts do not always appear in chronological order. Hence the need for "Chronology" posts like this one that enable the reader to access posts on a particular topic in the proper chronological order. Other posts of this type are listed under "More Information" below.
Apollo to Mars & Venus: North American Aviation's 1965 Plan for Piloted Planetary Flybys in the 1970s
Apollo Ends at Venus: a 1967 Proposal for Single-Launch Piloted Venus Flybys in 1972, 1973, and 1975
Floaters, Armored Landers, Radar Orbiters, and Drop Sondes: Automated Probes for Piloted Venus Flybys (1967-1968)