From Academic Kids
The Venera (Russian: Венера) series of probes was developed by the USSR for the gathering of data from Venus. They were relatively successful after initial glitches were sorted out. As with some of the USSR's other planetary probes they were launched in pairs with a second vehicle being launched soon (a week or two) after the first of the pair.
The Venera 3 to 8 probes were similar. Weighing approximately one ton and launched by the Molniya type booster rocket, they included a cruise "bus" and a spherical atmospheric entry probe. The probe was optimised for atmospheric measurements and not equipped with any special landing apparatus, although it was hoped they would reach the surface still functioning (the last two did). The bus entered the atmosphere with the entry probe and burned up. The probes transmitted directly to Earth.
The Venera 9 to 14 probes were of a different design. They weighed approximately five tons and were launched by the powerful Proton booster. They included a transfer and relay bus that had engines to brake into Venus orbit (Venera 9 and 10, 15 and 16) and to serve as receiver and relay for the entry probe's transmissions. The entry probe was attached to the top of the bus in a spherical heat shield. The probes were optimized for surface operations with an unusual looking design that included a spherical compartment to protect electronics from atmospheric pressure and heat for as long as possible. Beneath this was a shock absorbing "crush ring" for landing. Above the pressure sphere were a cylindrical antenna structure and a wide dish shaped structure that resembles an antenna but is actually an aerobrake. They were designed to operate on the surface for a minimum of 30 minutes. Instruments varied on different missions, but included cameras and atmospheric and soil analysis equipment.
Veneras 15 and 16 were similar but replaced the entry probes with surface imaging radar equipment.
The Venera 9 and 10 landers had two cameras each. Only one functioned because the lens covers failed to separate from the second camera on each lander. The design was changed for Veneras 11 and 12, but this made the problem worse and all cameras failed on those missions. Veneras 13 and 14 were the only landers on which all cameras worked properly. The external link at the bottom of the page shows all lander imagery.
- 1VA (proto-Venera) - Flyby - launched February 4, 1961 : Failed to leave earth orbit
- Venera 1 - Flyby - launched February 12, 1961 : Communications lost enroute to Venus
- Venera 2 - Flyby - launched November 12, 1965 : Communications lost just before arival
- Venera 3 - Atmospheric Probe - launched November 16, 1965 : Communications lost just before atmospheric entry
- Kosmos 96/Venera 4 - Atmospheric Probe - launched November 23, 1965 : Failed to leave Earth orbit, and reentered the atmosphere. Believed by some researchers to have crashed near Kecksburg, Pennsylvania on December 9, 1965, an event which became known as the "Kecksburg Incident" among UFO researchers. All Soviet spacecraft that never left Earth orbit were customarily renamed "Kosmos" regardless of the craft's intended mission.
- Venera 4 - Atmospheric Probe - launched June 12, 1967 : Arrived October 18, 1967 and was the first probe to enter another planet's atmosphere and return data
- Venera 5 - Atmospheric Probe - launched January 5, 1969 : Arrived May 16, 1969 and successfully returned atmospheric data before being crushed by pressure within 26km of the surface
- Venera 6 - Atmospheric Probe - launched January 10, 1969 : Arrived May 17, 1969 and successfully returned atmospheric data before being crushed by pressure within 11km of the surface
- Venera 7 - Lander - launched August 17, 1970 : Arrived December 15, 1970, was the first successful landing of a spacecraft on another planet and survived for 23 minutes before succumbing to the heat and pressure
- Venera 8 - Lander - launched March 27, 1972 : Arrived July 22, 1972 and survived for 50 minutes before succumbing to the heat and pressure
- Venera 9 - Orbiter and Lander - launched June 8, 1975 : Arrived October 22, 1975, sent back the first (black and white) images of Venus' surface while the lander survived 53 minutes before succumbing to the heat and pressure
- Venera 10 - Orbiter and Lander - launched June 14, 1975 : Arrived October 25, 1975, the lander surviving 65 minutes before succumbing to the heat and pressure
- Venera 11 - Flyby and Lander - launched September 9, 1978 : Arrived December 25, 1978, the lander survived for 95 minutes; however the imaging systems had failed
- Venera 12 - Flyby and Lander - launched September 14, 1978 : Arrived December 21, 1978, the lander surviving for 110 minutes and recorded what is thought to be lightning
- Venera 13 - Flyby and Lander - launched October 30, 1981 : Arrived March 1, 1982, returned the first colour images of Venus' surface and discovered leucite basalt in a soil sample using a spectrometer
- Venera 14 - Flyby and Lander - launched November 14, 1981 : Arrived March 5, 1982, a soil sample revealed tholeiitic basalt (similar to that found on Earth's mid-ocean ridges)
- Venera 15 - Orbiter - launched June 2, 1983 : Arrived October 10, 1983 and mapped (along with Venera 16) the northern hemisphere down to 30 degrees from North (resolution 1-2km)
- Venera 16 - Orbiter - launched June 7, 1983 : Arrived October 14, 1983 and mapped (along with Venera 15) the northern hemisphere down to 30 degrees from North (resolution 1-2km)
- The Soviet Exploration of Venus (http://www.mentallandscape.com/V_Venus.htm)
- Venera 9 and 10 images of Venus (http://pages.preferred.com/%7Etedstryk/venera.html)
- Venera 13 images of Venus (http://pages.preferred.com/%7Etedstryk/venerab.html)cs:Program Veněra