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1VA/1
1VA/1 Mission to Venus

Mission Type: Impact
Launch Vehicle: 8K78 (no. L1-7)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), NIIP-5 / launch site 1, USSR
Spacecraft Mass: c. 645 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) three-component magnetometer; 2) variometer and 3) charged-particle traps
References:
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi
National Space Science Data Center, http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/


This mission was the first attempt to send a spacecraft to Venus. Original intentions had been to send the 1V spacecraft to take pictures of the Venusian surface, but this proved to be far too ambitious a goal. Engineers instead downgraded the mission and used the 1VA spacecraft for a simple Venus atmospheric entry. The 1VA was essentially a modified 1M spacecraft used for Martian exploration.

The spacecraft contained a small globe containing various souvenirs and medals commemorating the mission. This flight was also the first occasion on which the Soviets used an intermediate Earth orbit to launch a spacecraft into interplanetary space.

Although the booster successfully placed the probe into Earth orbit, the fourth stage (the Blok L) never fired to send the spacecraft to Venus. A subsequent investigation showed that there had been a failure in the PT-200 DC transformer that ensured power supply to the Blok L guidance system. The system had evidently not been designed to work in a vacuum. The spacecraft + upper-stage stack reentered Earth's atmosphere on 26 February 1961. The Soviets announced the total weight of the combination as 6,483 kilograms.


Key Dates
4 Feb 1961:  Launch
26 Feb 1961:  Re-entered Earth's Atmosphere
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
1VA/1 Facts This was the first mission of the Soviet Union's Venera series. Failed Soviet missions often were not named.

This was also the first attempt to launch for another planet from an intermediate Earth orbit.

The probe carried a small globe which held Soviet medallions and other commemorations of the mission.
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Last Updated: 23 Nov 2010