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vi KING PRESS KIT fosand National 2Gtricreton 10: 75-183 LEASE Nt ~ NASANews National Aeronautics and ‘Space Administration Washington, D.C. 20546 AC 202 758-8370 For Release: IMMEDIATE Nicholas Panagakos Headquarters, Washington, D.C. (Phone: 202/755-3680) Maurice Parker Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. (Phone: 804/827-3966) RELEASE NO: 75-183 VIKING MARS LAUNCH SET FOR AUGUST 11 America's most ambitious unmanned space venture will get under way next month with the launch of two Viking spacecraft to Mars. The year-long, 815-million-kilometer (505-million- mile) journey will culminate with the landing of an auto- mated laboratory on the surface of the planet in the sun- mer of 1976. The instrument-laden craft will take pictures and con- duct a detailed scientific examination of Mars, including a search for life, ~ more - The surface exploration of Mars--the planet most like Earth-~should yield new knowledge on the origin and evolu- tion of our solar system, and provide insights into the pro- cesses that have shaped our Earth. The scientific venture begins about August 11, when Viking A is scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard a Titan 3/Centaur rocket. Viking B is set to follow 10 days later. The designations of Vikings A and B will be changed to Vikings 1 and 2 once each spacecraft has heen successfully launched. After a long, looping chase through space to over- take Mars, Viking 1 will arrive in Martian orbit about June 18, 1976, and may remain in orbit for as little as two weeks or as much as 50 days. The most critical part of the mission begins when the four-ton Viking divides into an Orbiter and a Lander. The Orbiter, circling the planet at distances ranging from 1500 km (930 mi.) to 32,600 km (20,200 mi.), will map the surface and take Mars' atmospheric pulse, looking for signs of life. ‘The Lander will survive the flashing heat of entry through the planet's atmosphere, land gently on the sur- face, and conduct an intricate scientific examination. -more-

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