Encyclopedia Astronautica
Vega 5VS

Vega lander
VeGa-1/2 Venus lander
Credit: Andy Salmon
Russian Venus probe. Cancelled 1985. Unflown series of Venus probes (which also served as the basis for the Granat satellite). Original plans called for two versions, 5VS and 5VP, both weighing 4850 kg.

5VS was a Venus orbiter which would act as a relay station for a big Soviet-French balloon. The balloon was to be dropped into the Venusian atmosphere by the 5VP probe as it flew by Venus. Thereafter the 5VP would head for Halley's comet.

The plan was to launch two 5VS probes in November 1984, followed by two 5VP probes on 6 and 11 December 1984.

The 5VP bus was able to carry only 50 kg of equipment to study Halley's comet. In 1981, while the development of both 5V versions was well underway, it was decided to cancel the 5VS orbiters and redesign the 5VP probes to expand the Halley research program (this may have been in response to the cancellation of the US Halley probe the same year). This resulted in a spacecraft code-named 5VK, later named Vega. On the Venus package the big Soviet-French balloon was replaced by a smaller Soviet-built balloon and a 4V-1 type lander (minus camera). The flyby bus was equipped with the same solar panels as Veneras-15 and 16 and now carried a scan platform with remote sensing instruments to study Halley as well as extra dust protection shields.

Gross mass: 4,850 kg (10,690 lb).

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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 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Development of a three-stage version of the UR-500 was authorised in the decree of 3 August 1964. Decrees of 12 October and 11 November 1964 authorised development of the Almaz manned military space station and the manned circumlunar spacecraft LK-1 as payloads for the UR-500K. Remarkably, due to continuing failures, the 8K82K did not satisfactorily complete its state trials until its 61st launch (Salyut 6 / serial number 29501 / 29 September 1977). Thereafter it reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Lavochkin Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Lavochkin Design Bureau, Moscow, Russia. More...

  • Vekshin, Boris, "Letter to the editor", Novosti kosmonavtiki, Number 5 - 1999.

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