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RSC Energia: 51 years of Venera-3 MissionMarch 1, 2017
On March 1, 1966 Venera-3 automatic interplanetary station reached the Venusian surface. It was the world’s first flight of a spacecraft from the Earth to another planet.
Venera-3 was launched by Molnya launch vehicle from Baikonur on November 16, 1965. The station mass was 960 kg. During the flight 63 communication sessions were held and the trajectory correction was made.
Having passed a distance of about 350 M km, AIS reached the Venusian surface east of Mead crater. The descent capsule of the station was of a spherical shape 900 mm in diameter and had a heat-resistant coating and a parachute. It was thoroughly sterilized to prevent biological contamination of Venus. Inside the capsule there were radio system, scientific equipment, power supplies and a pennant with the national emblem of the USSR. Because of a number of reasons the station failed to transmit data on the planet itself but important scientific data on space and planetary space was obtained. A large amount of trajectory measurements became the most valuable base for study of superlong-range communication problems and interplanetary missions.
The study of Venus began on the initiative of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev with launch on February 4, 1961 of Venera-1 – the first in the history of mankind spacecraft designed to study other planets. Korolev was aware that such flights will allow to obtain more precise physical characteristics of interplanetary space, as well as such planets as Mars and Venus. It was necessary to develop interplanetary manned spacecraft.
In the USSR the great success in studying Venus using AIS was achieved, that is why the planet is called the Russian planet.
RSC Energia Press Center