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Venera 13
Venera 13 Mission to Venus

Mission Type: Flyby, Lander
Launch Vehicle: 8K82K + Blok DM (Proton-K no. 311-01 / Blok DM no. 5L)
Launch Site: NIIP-5 / launch site 200P, Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR
Spacecraft Mass: 4,363 kg at launch
Spacecraft Instruments:
Flyby bus: 1) magnetometer; 2) cosmic-ray detector; 3) solar wind detectors; 4) Signe-2MS3 gamma-ray burst detector
Lander: 1) x-ray fluorescence spectrometer and drill; 2) x-ray fluorescence spectrometer for aerosols; 3) imaging system; 4) pressure and temperature sensors; 5) mass spectrometer; 6) Groza-2 lightning detector; 7) gas chromatograph; 8) nephelometer; 9) spectrophotomete
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,

Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.

Venera 13 was one of the third pair of heavy Venus flyby/lander probes launched towards Venus by the Soviet Union. The Soviets picked the landing site for Venera 13 based on information passed on by NASA from the Pioneer Venus Orbiter vehicle.

The Venera 13 and 14 combination had an improved set of instruments (such as the spectrophotometer, the gas chromatograph and the mass spectrometer), including a redesigned soil sampler. After two midcourse corrections on 10 November 1981 and 21 February 1982, the Venera 13 lander separated from its parent on 27 February 1982.

The capsule entered the Venusian atmosphere and began relaying atmospheric data back to the flyby probe, which continued to fly past the planet after a 36,000-kilometer-range encounter. After a roughly 1-hour-long descent, the lander set down on the Venusian surface at 03:57:21 UT on 1 March 1982.

Landing coordinates were 7.5° south latitude and 303° longitude. The probe continued to transmit for another additional 127 minutes, far beyond the planned lifetime of 32 minutes. The probe found temperature and pressure to be 465°C and 89.5 atmospheres, respectively.

Venera 13 repeated the attempts at color surface photography (using red, green, and blue filters) that failed on Veneras 11 and 12 and succeeded by relaying to Earth the first color photographs of the surface of Venus. Venera 13 returned eight successive panoramas showing a field of orange-brown angular rocks and loose soil.

Successful soil analysis (which failed on Veneras 11 and 12) showed soil similar to terrestrial leucitic basalt with a high potassium content. The flyby module entered heliocentric orbit. Its engine was fired on 10 June 1982 as
part of a test for the anticipated Halley's Comet flyby.

Key Dates
30 Oct 1981:  Launch
1 Mar 1982:  Venus Flyby/Landing (03:57:21 UT)
10 Jun 1982:  Comet Halley Engine Test
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Venera 13 Facts Venera 13 too the first color photographs of Venus' surface (right).

The lander also made the first analysis of Venus' soil.

The Soviet Union's Venera 13 and 14 were the only interplanetary missions launched in 1981.
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Last Updated: 2 Dec 2010