National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Missions to Venus
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Beyond Our Solar System Our Solar System Sun Mercury Venus Moon Earth Mars Dwarf Planets Dwarf Planets Dwarf Planets Asteroids Comets Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Kuiper Belt
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
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 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.
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: 23 Nov 2010