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Solar System Exploration
Venera 1
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Venera 01
Venera 1 Mission to Venus

Mission Type: Impact
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with 2nd Generation Upper Stage + Escape Stage, 8K78 (no. L1-6)
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R, NIIP-5 / launch site 1
Spacecraft Mass: 643.5 kg
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) three-component magnetometer; 2) variometer and 3) charged-particle traps
Maximum Data Rate: 770 MHz at 1.6 bit/sec
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,

This was the second of two Venus impact probes that the Soviets launched in 1961. This time, the probe successfully exited Earth orbit and headed toward Venus. Despite some initial problems with the solar orientation system, the spacecraft responded properly during a communications session on 17 February 1961 at a distance of 1.9 million kilometers.

Unfortunately, controllers were unable to regain contact during a subsequent communications attempt on 22 February. A later investigation indicated that the spacecraft had lost its "permanent" solar orientation due to a faulty optical sensor that malfunctioned because of excess heat after the spacecraft's thermal control system failed.

The inert spacecraft eventually passed by Venus on 19 and 20 May 1961 at a distance of about 100,000 kilometers and entered heliocentric orbit.

Key Dates
12 Feb 1961:  Launch
4 Mar 1961:  Contact Lost
19 May 1961 - 20 May 1961:  Venus Flyby
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Venera 01 Facts The spacecraft is presumed to be first spacecraft to fly by Venus, though communication with Earth had been lost before it arrived.

The probe carried a Soviet pennant inside a pressurized sphere that was designed to float on Venusian oceans thought to exist at the time.

The spacecraft did return some scientific data on interplanetary space before contact was lost.
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Last Updated: 2 Dec 2010