National Air & Space Museum Site Index
Milestones of Flight Gallery


The sign by the Pioneer 10 prototype. It reads


First Spacecraft to Venture Beyond the Planets

Pioneer 10, launched March 3, 1972, was the first spacecraft to fly by Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. On December 3, 1973, it passed within 131,000 kilometers (82,000) miles of Jupiter and sent photographs and scientific information back to Earth 800 million kilometers (515 million miles) away.

In June 1983, Pioneer 10 reached a distance beyond all known planets, and it now transmits information about the interstellar space environment. Pioneer 10 carries a plaque designed to inform any intelligent extraterrestrial life that may find it about the spacecraft and its point of origin.

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Length: 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in)
Diameter (dish antenna): 2.7 m (9 ft)
Weight: 258 kg (568 lb)
Manufacturer: TRW, Inc., for NASA
Launch vehicle: Atlas Centaur

The Pioneer 10 prototype is NASM catalog #A19770451000.

Pioneer 10 sign in the Milestones of Flight gallery at the dsc31142.jpg.
Time picture taken Tue Jun 19 10:35:12 2007
Location picture taken Second Floor Balcony
Overlooking Milestones of Flight Gallery
National Air & Space Museum
Washington, DC
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