Lot #5085
Viking 1 Orbiter Model

Rare model of NASA's Viking 1 orbiter, America's first spacecraft to soft-land on Mars
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Estimate: $3000+


Rare model of NASA's Viking 1 orbiter, America's first spacecraft to soft-land on Mars

Incredible vintage model of a Viking 1 orbiter spacecraft with landing capsule system capable of being separated into three sections: bioshield cap, the aeroshell cover, and the aeroshell/heat shield. When fully displayed, the model approximately measures 19.5″ in height and 30″ in diameter with four foldable two-panel solar arrays. The orbiter features low and high gain antennae, a thruster engine, and a cruise sun sensor and sun gate, with USA logos affixed to either side. The landing capsule system, measuring 11.5″ at its widest point, consists of the bioshield cap, the aeroshell cover with deployable parachute, and the aeroshell and heat shield with two propellant tanks; the bioshield base seems inherent to latter section. The model, which does not include an interior lander craft, sits atop a circular metal base that measures 9.5″ inches in diameter. Intricate locking and fitting points require care and patience during reassembly of model. In very good to fine condition, with unobtrusive scattered scuffs and wear, and some splitting to paint on edges of orbiter.

NASA sent the Viking 1 and 2 spacecraft to Mars in the summer of 1976, with each craft comprised of an orbiter, which would photograph the surface, and a lander designed to study the surface and conduct several experiments. The whole spacecraft would orbit the planet for approximately one month, using the images relayed back to mission control to identify a landing site. The landers then separated and soft landed on the Martian surface, touching down in July 20th and September 3rd of 1976. Both orbiters and landers eventually failed or were shut down, but not before achieving all of the mission's scientific objectives, including imaging the Martian surface and searching for evidence of life on the planet. A wholly impressive early presentation model of the famed Viking 1.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space & Aviation
  • Dates: #550 - Ended April 18, 2019