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Spacecraft: Mars M-69. Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars.

Spacecraft: Mars M-71.

Mars spacecraft built by Lavochkin for 1971 campaign. The spacecraft consists of a bus/orbiter module and an attached descent/lander module. The primary scientific objectives were to image the Martian surface and clouds, determine the temperature on Mars, study the topography, composition and physical properties of the surface, measure properties of the atmosphere, and monitor the solar wind and the interplanetary and martian magnetic fields.


Spacecraft: Prognoz.

This spacecraft, built by Lavochkin, was launched from 1972 for study of geomagnetic fields, radiation, and solar physics. They continued the work of Elektron project of 1964. G S Narimanov was head of the government commission and they were launched by Molniya-M from Baikonur.


Spacecraft: Mars M-73.

Mars spacecraft series built for 1973 missions. Due to unfavorable position of Mars during that campaign, separate versions built: two intended to orbit Mars and map the surface, and two to land capsules. The orbiters were equipped with instrumentation to study the composition, structure, and properties of the Martian atmosphere and surface, including an imaging device, a 256 channel gamma-ray spectrometer mounted on a boom and a Lyman-Alpha photometer. The landers would have separated from their uninstrumented bus, entered the atmosphere, where a parachute opened, slowing the descent. The lander equipment included a Lyman-Alpha photometer and a Bennett mass analyzer. Unfortunately, this entire series of spacecraft experienced failures on arrival at Mars due to pre-flight test of the electronics with helium, which resulted in degradation of the computer chips during the journey to Mars. Orbiters had a launch mass of 3444 kg, and landers 3260 kg.


Spacecraft: Venera 4V-1.

Very successful combination Venus lander / Venus flyby spacecraft. After launch and a three to five month coast to Venus, the descent vehicle separated from the bus and plunged into the Venus atmosphere two days later. As it flew by Venus the bus acted as a data relay for the brief life of the descent vehicle, and then continued into a heliocentric orbit.


Spacecraft: Astron.

Astrophysics satellite based on the Venera 4V-2 bus design. Electrophysical research of galactic and extragalactic sources of ultraviolet ray and X-ray emission. The scientific apparatus was built jointly by scientists and specialists from the USSR and France.


Spacecraft: Venera 4V-2.

Venera radar mappers which used 8 cm band side-looking radar mappers to study the surface properties of Venus. In comparison to the 4V-1 bus flown previously they had extra solar panels and their propellant compartments were lengthened by a little over one meter. Two spacecraft were inserted into Venus orbit a day apart with their orbital planes shifted by an angle of approximately 4 degrees relative to one another. This made it possible to reimage an area if necessary. Each spacecraft was in a nearly polar orbit with a periapsis at 62 N latitude. Together, the two spacecraft imaged the area from the north pole down to about 30 degrees N latitude over the 8 months of mapping operations. Each spacecraft consisted of a 5 m long cylinder with a 6 m diameter, 1.4 m tall parabolic dish antenna for the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) at one end. A 1 meter diameter parabolic dish antenna for the radio altimeter was also located at this end. The electrical axis of the radio altimeter antenna was lined up with the axis of the cylinder. The electrical axis of the SAR deviated from the spacecraft axis by 10 degrees. During imaging, the radio altimeter would be lined up with the center of the planet (local vertical) and the SAR would be looking off to the side at 10 degrees. A bulge at the opposite end of the cylinder held fuel tanks and propulsion units. Two square solar arrays extended like wings from the sides of the cylinder. A 2.6 m radio dish antenna for communications was also attached to the side of the cylinder.


Spacecraft: Granat. Granat orbital X-, Gamma-ray observatory. Conduct of studies of X-ray and soft gamma ray radiation sources in space by the USSR jointly with France, Denmark and Bulgaria.

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Last update 28 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .