Mission Type: Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: 8K82K + Blok DM (Proton-K no. 321-01 / Blok DM no. 8L)
Launch Site: NIIP-5 / launch site 200L
Spacecraft Mass: 5,250 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) Polyus-V side-looking radar; 2) Omega radiometric system; 3) Radio occultation experiment; 4) infrared spectrometer; 5) cosmic-ray detectors; and 6) solar wind detectors
Spacecraft Power: Solar panles and batteries
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/
Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.
Venera 15 and Venera 16 were a pair of dedicated radar mappers designed to extend the studies begun by the American Pioneer Venus Orbiter in constructing a detailed map of the surface down to a resolution of about 1
to 2 kilometers.
For these missions, Soviet engineers lengthened the central bus of the earlier Veneras (by 1 meter), installed much larger solar batteries, and attached a large side-looking radar antenna in place of the descent lander module on the earlier spacecraft.
Venera 15 carried out two midcourse corrections (on 10 June 1983 and 1 October 1983) before successfully entering orbit around Venus at 03:05 UT on 10 October. Initial orbital parameters were 1,000 x 65,000 kilometers at 87° inclination - that is, a near-polar orbit.
The spacecraft's mapping operations began six days after entering orbit over the north pole. Because of the nature of the spacecraft's orbit, the two orbiters mapped only the area from 30° north latitude to the pole - about 115 million square kilometers - before the mission was completed on 10 July 1984.