Saturday, March 23, 2019

Launch of Russia-US Space Probe to Venus Possible in 2027

The Russian Academy of Sciences' Space Research Institute (IKI) Venera-D mission concept includes a Venus orbiter that would operate for up to three years, and a lander designed to survive the incredibly harsh conditions a spacecraft would encounter on Venus' surface for a few hours. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The launch of a joint Russian-US interplanetary probe to Venus is possible in 2027 at the earliest, even if the financing of the project starts in near future, the Russian co-chair of the joint working group on the Venera-D mission said in an interview with Sputnik.

"The launch windows in 2026, at the end of 2027, in 2029 and 2031 are being discussed. Even if the financing starts this year, we are missing the first date, so it will most likely be 2027", Lyudmila Zasova, a researcher at the Space Research Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained.

The scientist added that the two countries have already worked out the scientific objectives of the project and were ready to start developing the necessary equipment.

"As of now, the scientific part of the research has been completed: scientific goals have been formulated, priorities have been set, a concept of the completion of these challenging tasks has been put forward, the architecture of the mission has been assessed. Now we are ready to launch stage 'A,' according to the US designation, or the design and testing phase", Zasova said.

She also noted that Japan and Europe are ready to join the Russian-US mission by providing their scientific equipment.

"At this stage, Japan and Europe are expected to participate in the project as separate scientific organisations", the researcher said.

For the orbiter, Japan offers infrared and ultraviolet cameras, Italy — two mapping spectrometers, Germany — a camera for observing the surface on the night side of Venus in the near-infrared spectrum, which is important for finding the possible thermal and volcanic activity, according to Zasova.

The launch of the Venera-D space mission, which involves sending Russian orbital and landing platforms, as well as a small US research station, is planned on the Angara-A5 heavy carrier rocket from the Vostochny space centre in Russia's Far East.


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