The small mission concept is based on a dedicated launch on an Rocket Lab Electron rocket. The cruise vehicle would drop a small entry craft of about 15 kg including an instrument package at 2 to 4 kg. The entry craft would be a sounder, dropped off into the Venus atmosphere with a mission lifetime of 3 to 10 minutes.
The science goal is to measure chemical abundances for different altitudes, including confirming presence of phosphine gas and measuring elemental abundance ratios for random samples of the atmosphere. We dub our small mission concept the “fast” mission with the earliest launch opportunities in the 2023-2024 time frame.
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket takes off from New Zealand during its second test flight Image: Rocket Lab