Venera 7 Landing Capsule (USSR)

Venera 7 Landing Capsule (USSR)

Courtesy of NASA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Venera_7_capsule.jpg



Overview
The Venera missions were launched by the Soviet Union between 1967 and 1983 to study Venus. Altogether there were 16 unmanned missions; flyby, orbiters, and landers. Because of the extreme conditions on Venus, the missions that landed and returned data only survived for a short time (2 hours, at most).


Launch
From February 4, 1961 to June 7, 1983


Arrival
From February 4, 1961 to October 14, 1983


End of Mission
From February 4, 1961 to July, 1984


Goals and Findings


Venera 4: Atmospheric probe launched from a Tyazheliy Sputnik (67-058B) toward Venus. The spacecraft entered the Venusian atmosphere and released two thermometers, a barometer, a radio altimeter, an atmospheric density gauge, eleven gas analyzers, and two radio transmitters operating in the DM waveband. The main bus, which had carried the capsule to Venus, included a magnetometer, cosmic-ray detectors, hydrogen and oxygen indicators, and charged-particle traps. Signals were returned by the spacecraft, which braked and opened a parachute after entering the Venusian atmosphere. Signals stopped at an altitude of 24.96 km.


Venera 5: Atmospheric probe, sent to obtain atmospheric data. The spacecraft was very similar to Venera 4, although it had a stronger design. During the capsule's descent toward the surface of Venus, a parachute opened to slow the rate of descent. For 53 minutes on May 16, 1969, the capsule sent data from the Venusian atmosphere.


Venera 6: Atmospheric probe, to obtain atmospheric data.Capsule returned data for 51 minutes on May 17, 1969.


Venera 7: Venus lander sent to study the Venusian atmosphere and other phenomena of the planet. After aerodynamic braking, the capsule opened a parachute system. The capsule antenna was extended, and signals were returned for 35 minutes. Another 23 minutes of very weak signals were received after the spacecraft landed on Venus. The capsule was the first human-made object to return data after landing on another planet.


Venera 9: Descent craft with a cooling system allowed the spacecraft to collect data for 53 minutes after landing. During descent the spacecraft was protected and slowed down by a series of devices: hemispheric shells; three parachutes; a disk-shaped drag brake; and a compressible, metal, doughnut-shaped, landing cushion. Data indicated the clouds were 30-40 km, thick with bases at 30-35 km altitude. The atmosphere contains hydrochloric acid, hydrofloric acid, bromine, and iodine. Surface pressure was about 90 (Earth) atmospheres. The surface temperature was 485ºC. Light levels were comparable to those at Earth midlatitudes on a cloudy summer day. Photographs showed shadows, no apparent dust in the air, and a variety of 30-40-cm rocks that were not eroded.


Venera 10: Descent craft gave a profile of altitude (kilometers)/pressure (Earth atmospheres)/temperature (degrees Celsius) of 42/3.3/158, 15/37/363, and 0/92/465. Photographs showed large pancake rocks on the surface with lava or other weathered rocks between them. The surface wind speed was 3.5 m/s.


Venera 11: Descent craft carried instruments designed to study the detailed chemical composition of Venus's atmosphere, the nature of its clouds, and the thermal balance of the atmosphere. Made a soft landing on the surface after a descent time of approximately 1 hour. During this time it used aerodynamic braking, parachute braking, and finally atmospheric braking. The touchdown speed was 7–8 m/s. The decent craft transmitted information to the flight platform for retransmittal to Earth. It is unknown whether it carried an imaging system.


Venera 12: Descent craft carried instruments designed to study the detailed chemical composition of Venus’ atmosphere, the nature of its clouds, and the thermal balance of the atmosphere. Made a soft landing on the surface after a descent time of approximately 1 hour. It is unknown whether it carried an imaging system.


Venera 13: Descent craft carried instruments to take chemical and isotopic measurements, to monitor the spectrum of scattered sunlight, and to record electric discharges during its descent through the Venusian atmosphere. It used a camera system, an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, and a seismometer to conduct investigations on the surface. Landed just east of an elevated region known as Phoebe Regio. It survived for 2 hours 7 minutes in an environment with a temperature of 457ºC and a pressure of 89 Earth atmospheres.


Venera 14: Descent craft carried the same instruments as Venera 13. The surface temperature was 465ºC, and pressure was 94 Earth atmospheres.


Venera 15: Identical to Venera 16, mapped the Venusian surface for 8 months.


Venera 16: Part of a two-spacecraft mission (along with Venera 15) designed to study the surface properties of Venus. The two spacecraft went into Venus orbit a day apart and together the two spacecraft imaged the area from the north pole down to about 30º N latitude during 8 months of mapping operations.