A museum copy of the 1VA spacecraft. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak
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
Flyby vehicle of the Vega spacecraft. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak
The 3MV spacecraft equipped with a Venus lander. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak / RussianSpaceWeb.com
VENUS PROBES: A complete list of Russian launches toward Venus:
During 1986-1988, following USSR's successful flyby of the Halley Comet, Soviet and French representatives evaluated similar mission scenarios, which would bring spacecraft either to an asteroid or a comet. Dubbed Vesta, (Venus-Asteroid), the project actually envisioned a pair of probes designed to fly by Venus and Mars, following the launch in 1992, 1994 or 1996. However, the plan had never materialized.
Russia launches European Venus orbiter
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, lifted off on Nov. 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 Oct. 22, 2005, the mission was delayed by what was then estimated as approximately 10 days from the original launch date of Oct. 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 Nov. 9, 2005. The launch window was open from Oct. 26, 2005, to Nov. 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.
The project's authors also considered a real-time interaction between Venera-Glob and Venera-D projects. (491)