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 #4 spacecraft was officially announced as Venera-2, 3MV-3 #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:
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.
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 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: December 21, 2011