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Venera 14 Descent Craft



Venera 13 and 14 were identical spacecraft built to take advantage of the 1981 Venus launch opportunity. Launched 5 days apart, the objective of the missions was to make in-situ studies of the Venus atmosphere and surface.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

The Venera 14 mission consisted of a bus (81-110A) and an attached descent craft (81-110D). The Venera 14 descent craft/lander was a hermetically sealed pressure vessel, which contained most of the instrumentation and electronics, mounted on a ring-shaped landing platform and topped by an aerobraking disc and a cylindrical antenna. The design was similar to the earlier Venera 9-12 landers. Mass of the lander was 760 kg. It carried instruments to take chemical and isotopic measurements, monitor the spectrum of scattered sunlight, and record electric discharges during its descent phase through the Venusian atmosphere. The spacecraft utilized a camera system (with red, green, blue, and clear filters), an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, a screw drill and surface sampler, a dynamic penetrometer, an acoustic detector, and a seismometer to conduct investigations on the surface.

Mission Profile

Venera 14 launched on 4 November 1981 at 05:31 UT. An error was made in the first mid-course correction, on 14 November 1981, necessitating two additional manuevers, on 23 November 1981 and 25 February 1982. The descent vehicle separated from the bus on 3 March 1982 and plunged into the Venus atmosphere two days later. After entering the atmosphere a parachute was deployed at an altitude of about 63 km, activating the atmospheric instruments. At an altitude of 47 km the parachute was released and simple airbraking was used the rest of the way to the surface. Venera 14 landed at 07:00:10 UT about 950 km southwest of Venera 13 near the eastern flank of Phoebe Regio at 13 deg 15 min S by 310 E on a basaltic plain. After landing an imaging panorama was started and a mechanical drilling arm reached to the surface and obtained a sample, which was deposited in a hermetically sealed chamber, maintained at 30 degrees C and a pressure of about .05 atmospheres. The lander survived for 57 minutes (the planned design life was 32 minutes) in an environment with a temperature of 470 degrees C and a pressure of 94 Earth atmospheres. The descent vehicle transmitted data to the bus, which acted as a data relay as it flew by Venus.

The composition of the sample was determined by the X-ray flourescence spectrometer, showing it to be similar to terrestrial oceanic tholeiitic basalts. The seismometer detected two events, although these may have been associated with the lander operations. The nephelometer identified three distinct cloud layers. The acoustic detector returned sounds of the spacecraft operations and background wind.

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

Alternate Names

  • Venera 14 Lander
  • 15600

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1981-11-04
Launch Vehicle: Proton Booster Plus Upper Stage and Escape Stages
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 760.0 kg

Funding Agency

  • Soviet Academy of Sciences (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

Harvey, B., The new Russian space programme from competition to collaboration, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England, 1996.

Surkov, Yu. A., et al., New data on the composition, structure, and properties of Venus rock obtained by Venera 13 and Venera 14, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 8393-8402, Feb. 1984.

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