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Venera 12



Venera 12 was part of a two-spacecraft mission to study Venus and the interplanetary medium. Each of the two spacecraft, Venera 11 and Venera 12, consisted of a flight platform and a lander probe. Identical instruments were carried on both spacecraft. The flight platform had instruments to study solar-wind composition, gamma-ray bursts, ultraviolet radiation, and the electron density of the ionosphere of Venus. The lander probe carried instruments to study the characteristics and composition of the atmosphere of Venus.

Venera 12 was launched into a 177 x 205 km, 51.5 degree inclination Earth orbit from which it was propelled into a 3.5 month Venus transfer orbit which involved two mid-course corrections, on 21 September and 14 December. After ejection of the lander probe on 19 December, two days before encounter, the flight platform continued on past Venus in a heliocentric orbit. Near encounter with Venus occurred on December 21, 1978, at approximately 34,000 km altitude. The flight platform acted as a data relay for the descent craft for 110 minutes until it flew out of range and returned its own measurements on interplanetary space. It took UV spectrometric measurements of Comet Bradfield and measured gamma-ray bursts from space. The platform was equipped with a gamma-ray spectrometer, retarding potential traps, UV grating monochromator, electron and proton spectrometers, gamma-ray burst detectors, solar wind plasma detectors, and two-frequency transmitters.

More information on the Venera 12 descent vehicle is available at:

Alternate Names

  • 11025
  • Venera 12 Flight Platform
  • Venera12

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1978-09-14
Launch Vehicle: Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage and Escape Stages
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 4940 kg

Funding Agency

  • Soviet Academy of Sciences (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
Dr. V. G. KurtProject ScientistInstitut Kosmicheskich Issledovaniya (IKI)
Mr. Artem IvankovGeneral ContactLavochkin

Selected References

  • 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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