Encyclopedia Astronautica
Vega 5VK



vega.jpg
Vega lander
VeGa-1/2 Venus lander
Credit: Andy Salmon
Russian Venus probe. 2 launches, 1984.12.15 (Vega 1) to 1984.12.21 (Vega 2). The Vega 5VK spacecraft was designed for a mission combining a flyby of the planet Venus followed by an encounter with Halley's Comet.

At Venus a lander with a small balloon would be dropped into the clouds.

Original plans called for two versions, 5VS and 5VP. The 5VP Venus orbiter would be a relay station for a big Soviet-French balloon, to be dropped into the Venusian atmosphere by the 5VP Halley's comet probe as it flew by Venus. In 1981, it was decided to cancel the 5VS orbiters and redesign the 5VP to expand the Halley research program (this may have been in response to the cancellation of the US Halley probe the same year).

On the resulting Vega 5VK spacecraft the big Soviet-French balloon was replaced by a smaller Soviet-built balloon and a Venera 4V-1 type lander (minus camera). The flyby bus was equipped with the same solar panels as the Venera 4V-2 and carried a scan platform with remote sensing instruments to study Halley as well as extra dust protection shields.

The Vega 5VK spacecraft were fitted with scientific apparatus and equipment built in the USSR, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, German Democratic Republic, Poland, France, Federal Republic of Germany and Czechoslovakia.

Gross mass: 4,000 kg (8,800 lb).
First Launch: 1984.12.15.
Last Launch: 1984.12.21.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • KTDU-425A Isayev N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 18.890 kN. Mars 4-7, Venera 9-16, Vega 1-2, and Phobos 1-2 maneuvering engine. Out of Production. Could be throttled to 9.86/9.5/2870. Chamber pressure 149 - 95 bar. Isp=315s. First flight 1973. More...

See also
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Proton The Proton launch vehicle has been the medium-lift workhorse of the Soviet and Russian space programs for over forty years. Although constantly criticized within Russia for its use of toxic and ecologically-damaging storable liquid propellants, it has out-lasted all challengers, and no replacement is in sight. Development of the Proton began in 1962 as a two-stage vehicle that could be used to launch large military payloads or act as a ballistic missile with a 100 megaton nuclear warhead. The ICBM was cancelled in 1965, but development of a three-stage version for the crash program to send a Soviet man around the moon began in 1964. The hurried development caused severe reliability problems in early production. But these were eventually solved, and from the 1970's the Proton was used to launch all Russian space stations, medium- and geosynchronous orbit satellites, and lunar and planetary probes. More...
  • Proton-K/D-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This derivative of the original four stage Block D / 11S824 version of the Proton was used from 1978 to launch Lavochkin OKB planetary probes (Mars, Venera) and high earth orbit astronomical observatories (Astron, Granat). Guidance to the Block D-1 stage must be supplied by spacecraft. Equipped with N2O4/UDMH verniers for precise placement of payloads in high orbits or planetary trajectories. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • MOM Russian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Ministry of General Machine Building (Moskva, Russia), Moscow, Russia. More...
  • Lavochkin Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Lavochkin Design Bureau, Moscow, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Venera Russian series of spacecraft that explored the planet Venus. Venera spacecraft made the first soft landings on the surface of Venus and returned the first images from the surface. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Kaesmann, Ferdinand, et. al., "Proton - Development of A Russian Launch Vehicle", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1998, Volume 51, page 3.
  • Vladimirov, A, "Tablitsa zapuskov RN 'Proton' i 'Proton K'", Novosti kosmonavtiki, 1998, Issue 10, page 25.
  • Vekshin, Boris, "Letter to the editor", Novosti kosmonavtiki, Number 5 - 1999.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Vega 5VK Chronology


1984 December 15 - . 09:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 329-01.
  • Vega 1 - . Payload: 5VK s/n 901. Mass: 4,000 kg (8,800 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Vega 5VK. USAF Sat Cat: 15432 . COSPAR: 1984-125A. Investigations of the planet Venus and Halley's Comet. The APV-V plasma antenna did not deploy until the first mid-course correction burn. Deployed lander and balloon at Venus on June 19 1985. Rendezvoused with comet Halley on March 6, 1986. Fitted with scientific apparatus and equipment built in the USSR, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, German Democratic Republic, Poland, France, Federal Republic of Germany and C zechoslovakia.

1984 December 21 - . 09:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/40. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 325-02.
  • Vega 2 - . Payload: 5VK s/n 902. Mass: 4,000 kg (8,800 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Vega 5VK. USAF Sat Cat: 15449 . COSPAR: 1984-128A. Investigations of the planet Venus and Halley's Comet. The APV-V plasma antenna did not deploy until the first mid-course correction burn. Deployed lander and balloon at Venus on June 14, 1985. The surface experiments of the lander failed to send back data because they were inadvertently switched on at an altitude of 20 km. Apparently high winds activated a G-force sensor that was to automatically switch on the surface package after the jolt of touchdown. The bus continued in heliocentric orbit and rendezvoused with comet Halley on March 9, 1986. The images of the comet were nearly lost when a television sensor failed shortly before the flyby. A back-up sensor was activated just in time. Fitted with scientific apparatus and equipment built in the USSR, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, German Democratic Republic, Poland, France, Federal Republic of Germany and C zechoslovakia.

1985 June 11 - .
  • Vega 1, Venus Landing/Balloon - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Vega 5VK.

1985 June 14 - .
  • Vega 2, Venus Landing/Balloon - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Vega 5VK.

1986 March 6 - .
  • Vega 1, Comet Halley Flyby - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Vega 5VK.

1986 March 9 - .
  • Vega 2, Comet Halley Flyby - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Vega 5VK.

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