|Launch Date||Feb. 12, 1961 | 00:34:37 UT|
|Launch Site||Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia | Launch Site 1|
|Alternate Names||Unnamed Venera|
The Soviet Union’s second attempt to make the first scientific survey of Venus.
None. Mission controllers lost contact with with the spacecraft about 20 days into the voyage. The inert spacecraft eventually passed at a distance of about 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) and entered heliocentric orbit.
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 Feb. 17, 1961 at a distance of 1.2 millions mile (1.9 million kilometers).
Unfortunately, controllers were unable to regain contact during a subsequent communications attempt on February 22. 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 May 19-20, 1961 at a distance of about 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) and entered heliocentric orbit.
Electrostatic analyzer for solar plasma
Photoconductive particle detectors
Rubidium vapor magnetometer
Triple-coincidence cosmic-ray telescope
Cosmic-ray integrating ionization chamber
X-ray scintillation detectors
Micrometeoroid dust particle detectors
Lyman alpha scanning telescope
Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002.