On September 25th, 1992, the Mars Observer was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida with the goal of orbiting Mars to collect scientific data. According to the book On This Day In New Jersey History, the craft was built in Princeton at the General Electric Aerospace hangar.

The craft cost $511 million, but the mission was not a success. According to NASA’s website, communication with the orbiter was lost on August 21, 1993 as it was preparing for orbit insertion. It was determined that the problem was caused by ruptured fuel and vapor lines, among other things. Once the lines ruptured, the craft went into “contingency mode” and lost connection with the transmitter. While none of the mission objectives were accomplished, four subsequent spacecraft completed the missions.

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