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Venera 10 Descent Craft



The Venera 10 descent craft/lander was attached on top of the orbiter at launch. Venera 9 and 10 were a pair of identical spacecraft prepared for the June 1975 launch opportunity. The scientific objectives of the descent craft/lander were to make in-situ measurements of the Venus atmosphere and surface.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

The descent craft/lander comprised a spherical body mounted by a series of struts on a toroidal landing platform and topped by a disk (the titanium aerobrake) and a cylindrical tower. The full entry probe, which included a 2.4 m aluminum heat shield and held the descent craft, had a mass of 1560 kg. The lander was 2 m high and had a mass of 660 kg. Data transmission would be at 256 bits/sec, through a helical antenna wrapped around the upper cylinder using the orbiter as a relay. It carried a panoramic imaging system mounted 90 cm above the base, a thermometer, barometer, anemometer, mass spectrometer, photometers, nephelometer, gamma-ray spectrometer, radiation densitometer, and accelerometers.

Mission Profile

Launch of Venera 10 occurred on 14 June 1975 at 03:00:31 UT. After two trajectory corrections on 21 June and 18 October, the lander separated from the orbiter on 23 October and entered the Venus atmosphere at 01:02 UT on 25 October. A system of circulating fluid was used to pre-cool the lander and distribute the heat load. During descent, heat dissipation and deceleration were accomplished sequentially by a protective hemispheric aeroshell heat shield, three parachutes (jettisoned at 49 km altitude), the disk-shaped drag brake, and a compressible, metal, doughnut-shaped, landing cushion which absorbed the shock of the impact and held many of the instruments. The descent craft landed at 02:17 UT on 25 October at 16 N, 291 E near Beta Regio. It transmitted for 65 minutes after landing, until the orbiter was out of range to act as a relay. As with Venera 9, the panoramic imaging system could only take a 180 degree image instead of the planned 360-degree panorama because one of the two covers failed to release.

Preliminary results provided: (A) profile of altitude (km)/pressure (earth atmospheres)/temperature (deg C) of 42/3.3/158, 15/37/363, and 0/92/465, (B) successful TV photography showing large pancake rocks with lava or other weathered rocks in between, and (C) surface wind speed of 3.5 m/s.

Spacecraft image for illustrative purposes - not necessarily in the public domain.

Alternate Names

  • Venera10DescentCraft

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1975-06-14
Launch Vehicle: Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage and Escape Stages
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 2015 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (U.S.S.R)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Artem IvankovGeneral ContactLavochkin

Selected References

  • Surkov, Yu. A., et al., Investigations of the density of the Venusian surface rocks by Venera 10, Pres. at 19th COSPAR Plenary Meet., June 8-19, 1975, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England, 1996.
  • Johnson, N. L., Handbook of soviet lunar and planetary exploration - volume 47 science and technology series, Amer. Astronau. Soc. Publ., 1979.
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