What was the first American spacecraft to land on the planet Mars?
There have been many failed – and several successful – almost 500-million-mile trips to Mars by spacecrafts launched from all over the globe.
Cheers erupted from the U.S. on July 20, 1976, as Viking 1 became the first American spacecraft to land on Mars’ surface. The planned landing date was July 4, but it was pushed back due to safety concerns. For six years, Viking 1 remained on the planet, sending images and data back to Earth. Source: Space.com
Viking 1 was the first of two spacecraft sent to Mars as part of NASA’s Viking program. On July 20, 1976, it became the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars and perform its mission.
Max speed: 14,400 km/h
Launch date: 20 August 1975
Cost: 1 billion USD (1970)
Manufacturer: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Last contact: 13 November 1982