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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.

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: 2015.0 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (U.S.S.R)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions or 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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