ISS-64 mission


ISS crew:

Commander -
Sergey Ryzhikov
Flight engineers:
Sergey Kud-Sverchkov
Kathleen Rubins
Michael Hopkins
Victor Glover
Shannon Walker
Soichi Noguchi



55th anniversary of the launch of Venera-3 interplanetary probe

November 16, 2020

On November 16, 1965, a four-stage launch vehicle Molniya-M lifted off from Baikonur launch site carrying an interplanetary probe Venera-3 towards Venus. Venera-3 became the worlds first man-made object to reach the surface of another planet.

Venera-2 and Venera-3 probes were the last vehicles to fly in the 3MV series of standardized spacecraft developed in 1962-1964 at OKB-1 (now known as S.P.Korolev RSC Energia) for deep space exploration. The first spacecraft in the 3MV series had been used for test trials of missions to Mars. In early 1965, Mstislav Keldysh, the president of the USSR Academy of Sciences, put forward a proposal to use the upcoming astronomical window to simultaneously send to the Morning Star more than one 3MV spacecraft. Venera-2 that was launched on November 12, 1965, was designed to study and photograph the planet from a flyby trajectory, while Venera-3 was supposed to make a soft landing on its surface to take direct measurements of pressure, temperature and other physical parameters, concurrently looking for hypothetical signs of life.

After launch both Venera spacecraft were successfully injected into a trajectory towards Venus and proceeded with their flight programs thanks to the high-precision injection performed by upper stage Block L, also developed by OKB-1 designers. But, as the Sun was getting nearer, an increasing overheating developed inside the pressurized compartments housing the probe onboard equipment as a result of off-nominal operation of the thermal control system. The loss of thermal balance turned out to be critical, and when the stations were approaching Venus in February of 1966, communication with the probes was lost. According to trajectory calculations, on March 1, 1966, Venera-3 probe automatically entered Venusian atmosphere, and its descent vehicle delivered to the planetary surface a pennant depicting the national emblem of the Soviet Union encased into a metal Earths globe.

The mission of Venera-3 completed the series of deep space projects of OKB-1. Korolevs probes of Luna, Mars and Venera series blazed the trail for next-generation spacecraft, remaining the symbol of outstanding achievements of our countrys science and technology during the early days of space exploration.







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