Mars Cubesat One (MarC0)

Occurred 6 years ago




May 5, 2018




Technology Demonstration, CubeSat/SmallSat

Mars Cube One (MarCO) was the first interplanetary mission to use a class of mini-spacecraft called CubeSats. Their goal was to test new miniaturized deep space communication equipment. Upon their arrival at Mars, the twin MarCOs successfully relayed back InSight data as it entered the Martian atmosphere and landed.

Twin small spacecraft in space.
An artist's rendering of NASA's twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft as they fly through deep space.

Key Dates

May 5, 2018: Launch (with NASA's InSight lander)

Nov. 26, 2018: Mars flyby / Relay operations

Dec. 29, 2018: Last contact with MarCO B

Jan. 4, 2019: Last contact with MarCO A

Tech Specs

Spacecraft Mass
30 pounds (13.5 kilograms) each
Launch Vehicle
Atlas V-401
Launch Date and Time
May 5, 2018 | 11:05 UTC
Launch Site
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Scientific Instruments
1. UHF Radio Receiver
2. X Band Radio Transmitter
A 3D model of MarCO, a twin pair of spacecraft that proved cubesats could work in deep space.
NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development (VTAD)
View of Mars from MarCO spacecraft.
MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on Nov. 26, 2018.
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