Past Missions

Vega Balloon

A key past mission is the Vega balloon.

The two balloon aerobots were designed to float at 54 km (34 mi) from the surface, in the most active layer of the Venusian cloud system. The instrument pack had enough battery power for sixty hours of operation and measured temperature, pressure, wind speed, and aerosol density. The balloon envelopes were surfaced with polytetrafluoroethylene to resist attack by the corrosive atmosphere. Both Vega-1 and Vega-2 balloons operated for more than 46 hrs from injection to the final transmission.

The balloons were spherical superpressure types with a diameter of 3.54 m (11.6 ft) and filled with helium. A gondola assembly weighing 6.9 kg (15 lb) and 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) long was connected to the balloon envelope by a tether 13 m (43 ft) long. Total mass of the entire assembly was 21 kg (46 lb).

Table of Past Successful Missions

       
Mariner 2
(P-38)
27 August 1962NASA
 United States
FlybySuccessfulFlyby on 14 December 1962Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Venera 4
(4V-1 No.310)
12 June 1967Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
AtmosphericSuccessfulReturned atmospheric data during entry on 18 October 1967. Never intended to work on surface[7]Molniya-M
Mariner 514 June 1967NASA
 United States
FlybySuccessfulFlyby on 19 October 1967, closest approach at 17:34:56 UTC[8]Atlas SLV-3 Agena-D
Venera 5
(4V-1 No.330)
5 January 1969Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
AtmosphericSuccessfulEntered atmosphere on 16 May 1969, operated for 53 minutesMolniya-M
Venera 6
(4V-1 No.331)
10 January 1969Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
AtmosphericSuccessfulEntered atmosphere on 17 May 1969, operated for 51 minutesMolniya-M
Venera 8
(4V-1 No.670)
27 March 1972Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
LanderSuccessfulLanded at 09:32 UTC on 22 July 1972. First fully successful landing on another planet.Molniya-M
Mariner 103 November 1973NASA
 United States
FlybySuccessfulFlyby on 4 February 1974; closest approach at 17:01 UTC; observed Venus and performed gravity assist to reach MercuryAtlas SLV-3D Centaur-D1A
Venera 9
(4V-1 No.660)
8 June 1975Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Orbiter/LanderSuccessfulEntered orbit on 20 October 1975; lander landed at 05:13 UTC on 22 October. First images from the surface of another planet.Proton-K/D
Venera 10
(4V-1 No.661)
14 June 1975Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Orbiter/LanderSuccessfulEntered orbit on 23 October 1975; lander landed at 05:17 UTC on 25 OctoberProton-K/D
Venera 11
(4V-1 No.360)
9 September 1978Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Flyby/LanderMostly successfulFlyby on 25 December; Lander landed at 03:24 UTC the same day. Multiple instrument failures on landerProton-K/D-1
Venera 12
(4V-1 No.361)
14 September 1978Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Flyby/LanderMostly successfulLander landed at 03:20 UTC on 21 December 1978. Both cameras on lander failedProton-K/D-1
Pioneer Venus 1
(PV Orbiter)
20 May 1978NASA
 United States
OrbiterSuccessfulEntered orbit on 4 December 1978, decayed on 22 October 1992Atlas SLV-3D Centaur-D1AR
Pioneer Venus 2
(PV Multiprobe)
8 August 1978NASA
 United States
AtmosphericSuccessfulEntered the atmosphere on 9 December 1978; consisted of five spacecraft, one of which briefly continued transmitting after reaching the surface[9]Atlas SLV-3D Centaur-D1AR
Venera 13
(4V-1M No.760)
30 October 1981Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Flyby/LanderSuccessfulLander landed at 03:20 UTC on 1 March 1982.Proton-K/D-1
Venera 14
(4V-1M No.761)
4 November 1981Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Flyby/LanderSuccessfulLander landed on 5 March 1982.Proton-K/D-1
Venera 15
(4V-2 No.860)
2 June 1983Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
OrbiterSuccessfulEntered orbit 10 October 1983, operated until July 1984Proton-K/D-1
Venera 16
(4V-2 No.861)
7 June 1983Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
OrbiterSuccessfulEntered orbit 11 October 1983, operated until July 1984Proton-K/D-1
Vega 1
(5VK No.901)
15 December 1984Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Flyby/Atmospheric/LanderMostly successfulLanded 11 June 1985. Atmospheric probe deployed during entry operated for two days. Main bus continued to explore comet 1P/HalleyProton-K/D-1
Vega 2
(5VK No.902)
21 December 1984Lavochkin
 Soviet Union
Flyby/Atmospheric/LanderSuccessfulLanded 15 June 1985. Atmospheric probe deployed during entry operated for two days. Main bus continued to explore comet 1P/HalleyProton-K/D-1
Magellan4 May 1989NASA
 United States
OrbiterSuccessfulEntered orbit 10 October 1990, deorbited 13 October 1994Space Shuttle Atlantis
STS-30 / IUS
Galileo18 October 1989NASA
 United States
Gravity assist at VenusSuccessfulFlyby on 10 February 1990 en route to Jupiter; observed Venus during closest pass.Space Shuttle Atlantis
STS-34 / IUS
Cassini15 October 1997NASA
 United States
Gravity assistSuccessfulFlybys on 26 April 1998 and 24 June 1999 en route to Saturn; observed Venus during closest pass.Titan IV(401)B
MESSENGER3 August 2004NASA
 United States
Gravity assistSuccessfulFlybys on 24 October 2006 and 5 June 2007 en route to Mercury; observed Venus during closest pass.Delta II 7925H
Venus Express9 November 2005ESA
 European Union
OrbiterSuccessfulEntered orbit 11 April 2006. Full communications lost on 28 November 2014 [10]Soyuz-FG/Fregat
Akatsuki20 May 2010JAXA
 Japan
OrbiterOperationalFlew past Venus on 6 December 2010 after failing to enter orbit. Insertion was successfully reattempted on 7 December 2015.H-IIA 202
IKAROS20 May 2010JAXA
 Japan
FlybySuccessfulExperimental solar sail released from the Akatsuki spacecraft. Flew past Venus on 8 December 2010 but did not make observations.H-IIA 202
Parker Solar Probe12 August 2018NASA
 United States
Gravity assistOperationalFlybys on 10 October 2018, 26 December 2019, 11 July 2020, 20 February 2021, 16 October 2021, 21 August 2023, and 6 November 2024 to lower perihelion for solar observation.Delta IV Heavy/Star 48BV
BepiColombo20 October 2018ESA
 European Union
Gravity assistSuccessfulFlybys on 15 October 2020 and 11 August 2021 en route to Mercury; observed Venus during closest pass.Ariane 5 ECA
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