Technicians make final checks of the Mariner 9 spacecraft prior to its encapsulation. The Mars-bound spacecraft lifted off aboard an Atlas-Centaur rocket from Cape Kennedy at 6:23 p.m. EDT, May 30, 1971. Following a flight of nearly six months, the spacecraft entered its orbit becoming the first artificial satellite of Mars. Mariner 9 functioned in Martian orbit for nearly a year.
Courtesy of NASA