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Pioneer 12
Pioneer Venus Orbite
Pioneer Venus Orbite
Credit: Manufacturer Image
American Venus probe. Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Part of the Pioneer program Pioneer Venus Orbiter was designed to perform long-term observations of the Venusian atmosphere and surface features. Venus lander built by Hughes for NASA, USA. Launched 1978.

Status: Operational 1978. First Launch: 1978-05-20. Last Launch: 1978-05-20. Number: 1 . Gross mass: 582 kg (1,283 lb). Height: 1.20 m (3.90 ft).

Data from the Orbiter was correlated with data from its sister vehicle (Pioneer Venus Multiprobe and its atmospheric probes) to relate specific local measurements to the general state of the planet and its environment as observed from orbit. Despite their drastically different roles, the Orbiter and Multiprobe were very similar in design. The use of identical systems (including flight hardware, flight software, and ground test equipment) and incorporation of existing designs from previous missions (including OSO and Intelsat) allowed the mission to meet its objectives at minimum cost.

The spacecraft was spin stabilized at ~15 rpm. Body mounted solar panels provided 312 W and recharged 2 x 7.5 Ah NiCd batteries. A 1.09 m despun dish antenna was used for high rate S-band communication with Earth, with low-gain omni antennas for emergency communication. 4 x 10W TWTAs powered the radar. An X-band transmitter was also incorporated for occultation measurements. Attitude determination was by sun sensors and star sensors. Nutation damping was performed with a partially filled tube of liquid Freon. The hydrazine propellant system used 7 thrusters for attitude control and orbit adjustment. A solid rocket motor providing 18 kN of thrust for Venus orbit insertion. A 4.8 m deployable boom was provided for the magnetometer.

The Pioneer Venus Orbiter carried 17 experiments (with a total mass of 45 kg). Most of the instruments were still operating when the spacecraft entered the atmosphere. They included:

More at: Pioneer 12.

Family: Venus. Country: USA. Engines: Star 24. Launch Vehicles: Atlas, Atlas SLV-3D Centaur. Projects: Pioneer series. Launch Sites: Cape Canaveral, Cape Canaveral LC36A. Agency: NASA, NASA Ames, Hughes. Bibliography: 16, 2, 278, 296, 4016, 4022, 6, 6780, 12958.

1973 January 26 - .
1978 May 20 - . 13:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3D Centaur.
1978 December 4 - .
1992 October 8 - .

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