|Venera 1 - |
Credit: NASA. 20,359 bytes. 320 x 222 pixels.
The 1VA probe, the first spacecraft sent towards Venus, consisted of a cylindrical body topped by a dome, totaling 2 meters in height. Two solar panels extended radially from the cylinder. A large (over 2 meter diameter) high-gain net antenna was used to receive signals from the ground. This antenna was attached to the cylinder. A long antenna arm was used to transmit signals to Earth. The probe was equipped with scientific instruments including a magnetometer attached to the end of a 2 meter boom, ion traps, micrometeorite detectors, and cosmic radiation counters. The dome contained a pressurized sphere which carried a Soviet pennant and was designed to float on the putative Venus oceans after the intended Venus impact. Venera 1 had no on-board propulsion systems. Temperature control was achieved with thermal shutters.
Total Mass: 644 kg.
Venera 1 was the first spacecraft to fly by Venus. It was launched first into a 229 x 282 km parking orbit, then boosted toward Venus by the restartable Molniya upper stage. On 19 February, 7 days after launch, at a distance of about two million km from Earth, contact with the spacecraft was lost. On May 19 and 20, 1961, Venera 1 passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit. This failure resulted in only the following objectives being met: checking of methods of setting space objects on an interplanetary course; checking of extra-long-range communications with and control of the space station; more accurate calculation of the dimension of the solar system; a number of physical investigations in space.