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3MV

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A dissected 2MV spacecraft configured for Venus mission. All launches of the craft toward Venus in August and September 1962 were unsuccessful due to upper stage failures. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


A 3MV (Mars-Venus) spacecraft configured for the mission to Venus. 3MV-4 No. 4 spacecraft was officially announced as Venera-2, 3MV-3 No. 1 as Venera-3. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


A replica of the Venera-4 lander. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


A dissected Venus lander. Copyright © 2000 Anatoly Zak


A maneuvering engine which was used in deep space onboard Venera and Mars spacecraft. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


The Venera spacecraft with a radar antenna during pre-launch processing. Credit: Lavochkin


The radar assembly of Venera-15 and Venera-16 orbiters. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


A lander of the Vega-1 and Vega-2 spacecraft. The payload of an atmospheric balloon deployed by the Vega spacecraft during the descent can seen on the right. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


An orbiter of the Vega spacecraft. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak

Above: The 3MV spacecraft equipped with a Venus lander. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak / RussianSpaceWeb.com


VENUS PROBES: A complete list of Russian launches toward Venus:

Launch date
Spacecraft development name* Official name* Mission

Launcher/serial number

Comments
Feb. 4, 1961
1VA No. 1
Heavy sputnik
Impact
8K78/L1-6
Stranded in Earth orbit
Feb. 12, 1961
1VA No. 2
Venera-1
Impact
8K78/L1-7
Failed on its way to Venus
Aug. 25, 1962
2MV-1 No. 3
-
Landing
8K78/T103-12
Fourth stage failure in the orbit
Sept. 1, 1962
2MV-1 No. 4
-
Landing
8K78/T103-13
Stranded in the low Earth orbit
Sept. 12, 1962
2MV-2 No. 1
-
Flyby
8K78/T103-14
Fourth stage failure in the low orbit 
Feb. 19, 1964
-
Flyby
8K78M/T15000-19
Did not reach orbit due to third stage failure
March 27, 1964
3MV-1 No. 5
Landing
8K78M/T-15000-22
Stranded in the low Earth orbit
April 2, 1964
3MV-1 No. 4
Landing
8K78M/T-15000-23
Failed on its way to Venus
Nov. 12, 1965
3MV-4 No. 4
Venera-2
Flyby
8K78M
Passed 24,000 km from Venus
Nov. 16, 1965
3MV-3 No. 1
Venera-3
Landing
8K78M
First reached the planet
Nov. 23, 1965
3MV-4 No. 6
Kosmos-96
Flyby
8K78M
Failed to leave low Earth orbit
June 12, 1967
V-67 No. 310
Venera-4
Landing
8K78M
First to reach atmosphere of Venus and transmit data
June 17, 1967
V-67 No. 311
Kosmos-167
Landing
8K78M
Failed on the Earth orbit
Jan. 5, 1969
V-69 No. 330
Venera-5
Landing
8K78M
-
Jan. 10, 1969
V-69 No. 331
Venera-6
Landing
8K78M
-
Aug. 17, 1970
V-70 No. 630
Landing
8K78M
Transmitted data from the surface
Aug. 22, 1970
V-70 No. 631
Kosmos-359
Landing
8K78M
-
March 27, 1972
V-72 No. 670
Venera-8
Landing
8K78M
Transmitted data from the surface for 50 minutes
March 31, 1972
V-72 No. 671
Landing
8K78M
Failed to leave Earth orbit
June 8, 1975
4V-1 No. 660
Orbit/landing
8K82K (UR-500)
Landed; transmitted first black and white images of the surface
June 14, 1975
4V-1 No. 661
Orbit/landing
8K82 K (UR-500)
Landed; transmitted black and white images of the surface
Sep. 9, 1978
4V-1 No. 360
Venera-11
Landing
8K82K (UR-500)
Landed; failed to return photos
Sept. 14, 1978
4V-1 No. 361
Venera-12
Landing
8K82 K(UR-500)
Landed; failed to return photos
Oct. 30, 1981
4V-1M No. 760
Venera-13
Landing
8K82M (UR-500)
Landed; returned color photos
Nov. 4, 1981
4V-1M No. 761
Venera-14
Landing
8K82M (UR-500)
Landed; returned color photos
June 2, 1983
4V2 No. 860
Venera-15
Orbit
8K82K (UR-500)
Radar mapping from orbit
June 7, 1983
4V2 No. 861
Venera-16
Orbit
8K82K (UR-500)
Radar mapping from orbit
Dec. 15, 1984
5VK No. 901
Vega-1
Venus landing/Halley Comet flyby
8K82K (UR-500)
Landed on Venus/ flew by Halley Comet
Dec. 20, 1984
5VK No. 902
Vega-2
Venus landing/Halley Comet flyby
8K82K (UR-500)
Landed on Venus/ flew by Halley

Post-Soviet developments

Russia launches European Venus orbiter

Published: 2005 Nov. 14

A Russian rocket successfully launched the Venus-Express spacecraft for the European Space Agency, ESA, the first probe designed to study Venus in more than a decade.

A Soyuz FG-Fregat booster, carrying the Venus-Express, blasted off on November 9, 2005, at 06:33 Moscow Time from Site 31 in Baikonur Cosmodrome. The first stage of the launch vehicle separated 1 minute 58 seconds after the launch and the fairing was jettisoned 4 minutes 14 seconds in flight. It impacted 600 kilometers downrange from the usual drop zone in order to improve the performance of the launch vehicle and reduce heat loads on the spacecraft at the request of ESA.

The payload and its Fregat upper stage successfully reached the initial parking orbit and separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle 8 minutes 48 seconds after the liftoff. The upper stage later fired to inject the spacecraft into the heliocentric trajectory toward Venus.

During the pre-launch processing, on October 22, 2005, the mission was delayed by what was then estimated as approximately 10 days from the original launch date of October 26, 2005. It was caused by problems with the thermal protection layer of the Fregat upper stage and the contamination of the spacecraft. On October 31, the State Commission rescheduled the launch for November 9, 2005. The launch window was open from October 26, 2005 to November 26, 2005.


Venera-D project

On October 22, 2005, the Russian government signed a decree No. 635, approving Federal Space Program for 2006-2015. It included funding for the Venera-D project, which envisioned a long-duration lander on the surface of Venus, which could function as long as 30 days.


Venera-Glob project

Venera-Glob was conceived as a follow-on project to Venera-D - the first post-Soviet mission to Venus. During 2000s, it was considered in the context of the Russian-European cooperation, as a possible Russian lander contributed to a European EVE project. However by 2011, Venera-Glob has emerged as an independent concept, envisioning the launch of a multi-component mission as early as 2021. Venera-Glob's funding and development was not expected to start until the whole new revision of the Russian space program was to be approved by the Russian government for the 2016-2025 period.

The initial concept of the second Russian mission to Venus resembled Venera-D on steroids. The project could include a radar-carrying orbiter, several small surface landers and aerial vehicles. One of the landers could be designed to extend the survival time on the surface achieved by its predecessors. Scientists also mulled deploying atmospheric balloons at various altitudes in the venusian atmosphere for more than a month-long mission. In turn, balloons could release their own mini-probes. Finally, a special wind-flying aircraft or a glider, originally considered for the Venera-D project, could finally fly with Venera-Glob. Project authors also considered a real-time interaction between Venera-Glob and Venera-D projects. (491)


Text and photography by Anatoly Zak

Last update: April 1, 2014