National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Venera 2
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Venera 02
Venera 2 Mission to Venus

Mission Type: Flyby
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with 2nd Generation Upper Stage + Escape Stage; 8K78M
Launch Site: Tyuratam, Baikonur Cosmodrome, USSR; NIIP-5 / launch site 1
Spacecraft Mass: 958 kg
Spacecraft Instruments:
1) three-component magnetometer
2) imaging system
3) solar x-radiation detector
4) cosmic-ray gas-discharge counters
5) piezoelectric detectors
6) ion traps
7) photon Geiger counter
8) cosmic radio emission receivers
Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, Monographs in Aerospace History No. 24, by Asif A. Siddiqi

NSSDC Master Catalog,

Although the 3MV-3 and 3MV-4 type spacecraft were originally intended for Mars exploration, the Soviets re-equipped three of the series, left over from the 1964 Mars launch windows, for Venus exploration in 1965. This particular vehicle was scheduled to fly past the sunlit side of Venus at no more than a 40,000-kilometer range and take photographs.

During the outbound flight, communications with the spacecraft were poor. Immediately before closest approach in late February 1966, ground control commanded to switch on all the onboard scientific instrumentation. The closest approach to the planet was at 02:52 UT on 27 February 1966 at about a 24,000-kilometer range.

After its flyby, when the spacecraft was supposed to relay back the collected information, ground
control was unable to regain contact. Controllers finally gave up all attempts at
communication on 4 March. Venera 2 eventually entered heliocentric orbit.

Later investigation indicated that improper functioning of 40 thermal radiator elements caused a sharp
increase in gas temperatures in the spacecraft. As a result, elements of the receiving and decoding units failed, the solar panels overheated, and contact was lost. Ironically, the scientific instruments may have collected valuable data, but none of it was ever transmitted back to Earth.

Key Dates
12 Nov 1965:  Launch
4 Mar 1966:  Final Attempt at Communication
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Venera 02 Facts Soviet scientists were able to command the spacecraft to switch on its instruments before the flyby, but were unabled to regain contact.

Even though the flyby went as planned, no scientific data or images were returned from the spacecraft.

An investigation found several malfunctions caused the spacecraft to overheat.
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 2 Dec 2010