Encyclopedia Astronautica
Venera 4V-1



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Venera 9 lander test
Venera 9 lander in test
Credit: NASA
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Venera 9 Orbiter
Credit: NASA
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Venera 10 / 4V-1
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Venera 10 Orbiter
Venera 10 / 4V-1 Orbiter
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Venera 10 Detail
Venera 10 / 4V-1 Details
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Venera 10 Lander
Venera 10 / 4V-1 lander
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Venera 13
Credit: NASA
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Venera 13 Lander
Credit: NASA
Russian Venus probe. 6 launches, 1975.06.08 (Venera 9) to 1981.11.04 (Venera 14).

The Venera 4V models were the first of the series designed by the new chief designer of NPO Lavochkin, Vyaseslav Mikhailovich Kovtunenko, who had earlier worked at KB Yuzhnoye for many years. They became very successful combination Venus lander / Venus flyby spacecraft. After launch and a three to five month coast to Venus, the descent vehicle separated from the bus and plunged into the Venus atmosphere two days later. As it flew by Venus the bus acted as a data relay for the brief life of the descent vehicle, and then continued into a heliocentric orbit.

The bus was equipped with instrumentation including a gamma-ray spectrometer, retarding potential traps, UV grating monochromator, electron and proton spectrometers, gamma-ray burst detectors, solar wind plasma detectors, and two-frequency transmitters which made measurements before, during, and after the Venus flyby. These instruments studied solar-wind composition, gamma-ray bursts, ultraviolet radiation, and the electron density of the ionosphere of Venus. Instruments carried on other missions included a French 3500 angstrom UV photometer, a 4000-7000 angstrom photo-polarimeter, a 1.5 to 3 micron infrared spectrometer, and a 8 - 30 micron infrared radiometer, and a magnetometer . The orbiter consisted of a cylinder with two solar panel wings and a high gain parabolic antenna attached to the curved surface. A bell-shaped unit holding propulsion systems was attached to the bottom of the cylinder, and mounted on top was a 2.4 meter sphere which held the lander.

The descent craft/lander was a hermetically sealed pressure vessel, which contained most of the instrumentation and electronics, mounted on a ring-shaped landing platform and topped by an antenna. The descent craft included a system of circulating fluid to distribute the heat load. This system, plus precooling prior to entry, permitted operation of the spacecraft for 32 minutes after landing (although up to two hours were actually achieved). During descent, heat dissipation and deceleration were accomplished sequentially by protective hemispheric shells, three parachutes, a disk-shaped drag brake, and a compressible, metal, doughnut-shaped, landing cushion. The descent craft carried instruments designed to study the detailed chemical composition of the atmosphere, the nature of the clouds, and the thermal balance of the atmosphere. Among the instruments on board was a gas chromatograph to measure the composition of the Venus atmosphere, instruments to study scattered solar radiation and soil composition, and a device named Groza which was designed to measure atmospheric electrical discharges. The spacecraft usually carried a camera system, and later versions included an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, a screw drill and surface sampler, a dynamic penetrometer, and a seismometer to conduct investigations on the surface.

Gross mass: 5,030 kg (11,080 lb).
First Launch: 1975.06.08.
Last Launch: 1981.11.04.
Number: 6 .

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 Russian orbital launch vehicle. This four stage version of the Proton was originally designed to send manned circumlunar spacecraft into translunar trajectory. Guidance to the Block D stage must be supplied by spacecraft. The design was proposed on 8 September 1965 by Korolev as an alternate to Chelomei's LK-1 circumlunar mission. It combined the Proton 8K82K booster for the LK-1 with the N1 lunar Block D stage to boost a stripped-down Soyuz 7K-L1 spacecraft around the moon. The Korolev design was selected, and first flight came on 10 March 1967. The crash lunar program led to a poor launch record. Following a protracted ten year test period, the booster finally reached a level of launch reliability comparable to that of other world launch vehicles. 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.
  • National Space Science Center Planetary Page, As of 19 February 1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • 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...

Venera 4V-1 Chronology


1975 June 8 - . 02:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 286-01.
  • Venera 9 - . Payload: 4V-1 s/n 660. Mass: 4,936 kg (10,882 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1. USAF Sat Cat: 7915 . COSPAR: 1975-050A. Apogee: 112,200 km (69,700 mi). Perigee: 1,510 km (930 mi). Inclination: 34.1500 deg. Period: 2,898.00 min. Combined Venus orbiter/lander mission. After separation of the lander, the orbiter spacecraft entered Venus orbit and acted as a communications relay for the lander and explored cloud layers and atmospheric parameters. On October 20, 1975, the Descent Craft was separated from the Orbiter, and landing was made with the sun near zenith at 05:13 GMT on October 22. The Descent Craft included a system of circulating fluid to distribute the heat load. This system, plus precooling prior to entry, permitted operation of the spacecraft for 53 min after landing. The landing was about 2,200 km from the Venera 10 landing site. Preliminary results indicated: (A) clouds 30-40 km thick with bases at 30-35 km altitude, (B) atmospheric constituents including HCl, HF, Br, and I, (C) surface pressure about 90 (earth) atmospheres, (D) surface temperature 485 deg C, (E) light levels comparable to those at earth midlatitudes on a cloudy summer day, and (F) successful TV photography showing shadows, no apparent dust in the air, and a variety of 30-40 cm rocks which were not eroded. Venera 9 and 10 were the first probes to send back black and white pictures from the Venusian surface. They were supposed to make 360 degree panoramic shots, but on both landers one of two camera covers failed to come off, restricting their field of view to 180 degrees. Parameters are for Venus orbit.

1975 June 14 - .
1975 June 14 - . 03:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D 285-02.
  • Venera 10 - . Payload: 4V-1 s/n 661. Mass: 5,033 kg (11,095 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1. USAF Sat Cat: 7947 . COSPAR: 1975-054A. Apogee: 113,900 km (70,700 mi). Perigee: 1,620 km (1,000 mi). Inclination: 29.5000 deg. Period: 2,963.00 min. The orbiter spacecraft entered Venus orbit and was separated from the lander on October 23, 1975. The lander touched down with the sun near zenith, at 05:17 GMT, on October 25. A system of circulating fluid was used to distribute the heat load. This system, plus precooling prior to entry, permitted operation of the spacecraft for 65 min after landing. During descent, heat dissipation and deceleration were accomplished sequentially by protective hemispheric shells, three parachutes, a disk-shaped drag brake, and a compressible, metal, doughnut-shaped, landing cushion. The landing was about 2,200 km distant from Venera 9. Preliminary results provided: (A) profile of altitude (km)/pressure (earth atmospheres) / temperature (deg C) of 42/3.3/158, 15/37/363, and 0/92/465, (B) successful TV photography showing large pancake rocks with lava or other weathered rocks in between, and (C) surface wind speed of 3.5 m/s. Venera 9 and 10 were the first probes to send back black and white pictures from the Venusian surface. They were supposed to make 360 degree panoramic shots, but on both landers one of two camera covers failed to come off, restricting their field of view to 180 degrees.

1975 October 22 - .
  • Venera 9, Venus Landing (Soviet Venus Orbiter/Lander) - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1.

1975 October 25 - .
1978 September 9 - . 03:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 296-01.
  • Venera 11 - . Payload: 4V-1 s/n 360. Mass: 4,715 kg (10,394 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1. USAF Sat Cat: 11020 . COSPAR: 1978-084A. Venera 11 was part of a two-spacecraft mission to study Venus and the interplanetary medium. Each of the two spacecraft, Venera 11 and Venera 12, consisted of a flight platform and a lander probe. Identical instruments were carried on both spacecraft. Venera 11 was launched into a 177 x 205 km, 51.5 degree inclination earth orbit from which it was propelled into a 3.5 month Venus transfer orbit. After ejection of the lander probe, the flight platform continued on past Venus in a heliocentric orbit. Near encounter with Venus occurred on December 25, 1978, at approximately 34,000 km altitude. The flight platform acted as a data relay for the descent craft for 95 minutes until it flew out of range and returned its own measurements on interplanetary space. The Venera 11 descent craft separated from its flight platform on December 23, 1978 and entered the Venus atmosphere two days later at 11.2 km/sec. During the descent, it employed aerodynamic braking followed by parachute braking and ending with atmospheric braking. It made a soft landing on the surface at 06:24 Moscow time on 25 December after a descent time of approximately 1 hour. The touchdown speed was 7-8 m/s.

    Both Venera 11 and 12 landers failed to return colour television views of the surface and perform soil analysis experiments. All of the camera protective covers failed to eject after landing (the cause was not established) The soil drilling experiment was apparently damaged by a leak in the soil collection device, the interior of which was exposed to the high Venusian atmospheric pressure. The leak had probably formed during the descent phase because the lander was less aerodynamically stable than had been thought.

    Two further experiments on the lander failed as well. Results reported included evidence of lightning and thunder, a high Ar36/Ar40 ratio, and the discovery of carbon monoxide at low altitudes.


1978 September 14 - . 02:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/24. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 296-02.
  • Venera 12 - . Payload: 4V-1 s/n 361. Mass: 4,715 kg (10,394 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1. USAF Sat Cat: 11025 . COSPAR: 1978-086A. Venera 12 was part of a two-spacecraft mission to study Venus and the interplanetary medium. Each of the two spacecraft, Venera 11 and Venera 12, consisted of a flight platform and a lander probe. Identical instruments were carried on both spacecraft. Venera 12 was launched into a 177 x 205 km, 51.5 degree inclination Earth orbit from which it was propelled into a 3.5 month Venus transfer orbit which involved two mid-course corrections, on 21 September and 14 December. After ejection of the lander probe on 19 December, two days before encounter, the flight platform continued on past Venus in a heliocentric orbit. Near encounter with Venus occurred on December 21, 1978, at approximately 34,000 km altitude. The flight platform acted as a data relay for the descent craft for 110 minutes until it flew out of range and returned to its own measurements on interplanetary space. The Venera 12 descent craft entered the Venus atmosphere at 11.2 km/sec two days after separation from the flight bus. During the descent, it employed aerodynamic braking followed by parachute braking and ending with atmospheric braking. It made a soft landing on the surface at 06:30 Moscow time on 21 December after a descent time of approximately 1 hour. The touchdown speed was 7-8 m/s.

    Both Venera 11 and 12 landers failed to return colour television views of the surface and perform soil analysis experiments. All of the camera protective covers failed to eject after landing (the cause was not established) The soil drilling experiment was apparently damaged by a leak in the soil collection device, the interior of which was exposed to the high Venusian atmospheric pressure. The leak had probably formed during the descent phase because the lander was less aerodynamically stable than had been thought. Therefore the landing gear of the following two landers (Venera-13/14) were equipped with tooth-shaped stabilisers.

    Results reported included evidence of lightning and thunder, a high Ar36/Ar40 ratio, and the discovery of carbon monoxide at low altitudes.

    The Venera-12 flyby bus continued in solar orbit and successfully used its Soviet-French ultraviolet spectrometer to study Comet Bradfield on 13 February 1980 (one year and two months after its Venus encounter). At that time the spacecraft was 190,373,790 km from Earth.


1978 December 21 - .
1978 December 25 - .
1981 October 30 - . 06:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/40. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 311-01.
  • Venera 13 - . Payload: 4V-1 s/n 760. Mass: 4,500 kg (9,900 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1. USAF Sat Cat: 12927 . COSPAR: 1981-106A. Venera 13 and 14 were identical spacecraft built to take advantage of the 1981 Venus launch opportunity and launched 5 days apart. After launch and a four month cruise to Venus, the descent vehicle separated and plunged into the Venus atmosphere on 1 March 1982. As it flew by Venus the bus acted as a data relay for the brief life of the descent vehicle, and then continued on into a heliocentric orbit. After the descent vehicle braked to subsonic speed a parachute was deployed. At an altitude of 47 km the parachute was released and simple airbraking was used the rest of the way to the surface. Venera 13 landed about 950 km northeast of Venera 14 at 7 deg 30 min S, 303 E, just east of the eastern extension of an elevated region known as Phoebe Regio. The area was composed of bedrock outcrops surrounded by dark, fine-grained soil. After landing an imaging panorama was started and a mechanical drilling arm reached to the surface and obtained a sample, which was deposited in a hermetically sealed chamber, maintained at 30 degrees C and a pressure of about .05 atmospheres. The composition of the sample, as determined by the X-ray flourescence spectrometer, put it in the class of weakly differentiated melanocratic alkaline gabbroids. The lander survived for 127 minutes (the planned design life was 32 minutes) in an environment with a temperature of 457 degrees C and a pressure of 84 Earth atmospheres. The bus carried instruments built by Austrian and French specialists, as well as Soviet scientific equipment.

1981 November 4 - . 05:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC200/39. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D-1. LV Configuration: Proton-K/D-1 311-02.
  • Venera 14 - . Payload: 4V-1 s/n 761. Mass: 4,000 kg (8,800 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1. USAF Sat Cat: 12938 . COSPAR: 1981-110A. Venera 13 and 14 were identical spacecraft built to take advantage of the 1981 Venus launch opportunity and launched 5 days apart. After launch and a four month cruise to Venus, the descent vehicle separated and plunged into the Venus atmosphere on 5 March 1982. As it flew by Venus the bus acted as a data relay for the brief life of the descent vehicle, and then continued on into a heliocentric orbit. The parachute of the descent vehicle opened after the lander reached subsonic speed. At an altitude of about 50 km the parachute was released and simple airbraking was used the rest of the way to the surface. Venera 14 landed about 950 km southwest of Venera 13 near the eastern flank of Phoebe Regio at 13 deg 15 min S by 310 E on a basaltic plain. After landing an imaging panorama was started It has been reported that the surface analysis arm accidentally landed on one of the ejected camera covers and therefore didn't send back any data on the Venusian soil. This is visible in photographs sent back. On the other hand, the official account very specifically states that the mechanical drilling arm obtained a sample, which was deposited in a hermetically sealed chamber, maintained at 30 degrees C and a pressure of about .05 atmospheres. The composition of the sample was determined by the X-ray flourescence spectrometer, showing it to be similar to oceanic tholeiitic basalts. The lander survived for 57 minutes (the planned design life was 32 minutes) in an environment with a temperature of 465 degrees C and a pressure of 94 Earth atmospheres.

1982 March 1 - .
1982 March 5 - .
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