Goals: Like previous Soviet Venus missions, Venera 13 and 14 were twin pairs and flyby spacecraft. The flyby craft was designed to relay transmissions from the landers in addition to studying Venus and interplanetary space. The landers carried advanced instruments to study Venus' atmosphere and soil.

Accomplishments: Venera 14 arrived at Venus four days after its twin. Though the color panoramic pictures it transmitted showed the lander to have set down on a 500 m (1600 ft) hill, with small foothills in the distance, the atmospheric pressure it recorded (93.5 times that of Earth, compared to 89.5 reported by Venera 13) suggested that it reached a substantially lower altitude than Venera 13. Venera 14 performed the second soil analysis on Venus, drilling a 30 mm deep hole and excavating about one cubic centimeter of soil, which was found to be similar to basaltic rocks on Earth that are formed at mid-ocean ridges by underwater volcanoes.

Mission Type: Flyby, Lander
Launch Vehicle: 8K82K + Blok DM (Proton-K no. 311-02 / Blok DM no. 6L)
Launch Site: NIIP-5 / launch site 200L, Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), USSR
Spacecraft Mass: 4,363.5 kg
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) spectrophotometer; 10) accelerometer; 11) humidity sensor; 12) prop soil mechanical/electrical probe; and 13) seismometer

References:

  • 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, http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/
  • Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.

Venera 14 was identical to its twin, Venera 13. The spacecraft carried out three midcourse corrections on the way to Venus: on 14 November 1981, 23 November 1981, and 25 February 1982. Russian sources indicate that one of the corrections was incorrect (probably the first) and could have jeopardized the mission.

The lander probe separated from its flyby parent on 3 March 1982 before the entry cycle began. The probe's main parachute opened at an altitude of 62 to 63 kilometers, thus activating the atmospheric instruments. The parachute was released at an altitude of 47 kilometers, and the 760-kilogram lander fell to the surface using only the atmosphere as a retarding medium.

The probe made safe contact with the Venusian surface at 07:00:10 UT on 5 March 1982 and continued with 57 minutes of transmissions. Landing coordinates were 13.25 degrees south latitude and 310 degrees longitude, about 1,000 kilometers from the Venera 13 landing site. As with its twin, Venera 14 returned color photographs of its surroundings and examined a soil sample (about 1 cubic centimeter taken from a 30-millimeter-deep sample). Soil was deposited in a chamber sealed off from the outside environment and was then progressively transferred through a series of chambers by blowing air until the sample was deposited in its final chamber with a temperature of only 30 degrees C. Here it was examined by the x-ray fluorescence spectrometer.

Temperature and pressure outside were considerably higher than at the Venera 13 site: 470 degrees C and 93.5 atmospheres, respectively. The flyby probe, meanwhile, passed Venus at a range of 36,000 kilometers and entered heliocentric orbit, continuing to provide data on solar x-ray flares. It performed one trajectory change on 14 November 1982.

Venus News