A summary of space exploration of the USSR, types of missiles and the most significant victories in this field. Part 2

    Good afternoon, my dear reader, I continue my story about the USSR launch vehicles and the most interesting cargoes that they delivered into space.

    Launch vehicle "Lightning"

    A modified version of the launch vehicle "Lightning-M"

    As you know, in the solar system there are eight planets. These are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Previously considered the planet of the solar system, Pluto is now excluded from this "honorable" series. In terms of distance from the Sun, the Earth is in third place. The planet closest to the Sun is Mercury, and the farthest is Neptune.

    The smallest distance from these planets to the Earth is as follows (in million km):

    Mercury - 91.6
    Venus - 41.4 is the closest planet to Earth.
    Mars - 78.3
    Jupiter - 628.4
    Saturn - 1277.4
    Uranus - 2721.4
    Neptune - 4347.4
    We will need this information later, to understand the global steps taken by the USSR during the space race.

    Launch vehicle "Lightning" 8K78. The first launch on October 10, 1960. And its modification "Lightning-M" 8K78M The first launch on April 2, 1964.
    It was developed to launch interplanetary spacecraft to Venus and Mars, then - to launch lunar spacecraft of the E-6 and E-6C series ("Luna-4" - "Luna-14 ") Gained fame in connection with the launch of Lightning communications satellites into highly elliptical orbits.
    With the help of these devices, the problem of providing long-distance telephone and telegraph communication and relaying of broadcasts of Central Television programs was solved.
    It was later used to launch the Oko missile attack warning system (SPRN) satellites.
    I want to note that this booster is one of the most successful. Now on its basis, Soyuz launch vehicles are launched. Separately, it can be said about the Moon satellites that it launched into space. Of the 10 satellites, only 5 coped with their tasks. I would especially like to note the Luna-9 and Luna-13 stations

    The Luna-9 station for the first time in the world made a soft landing on the lunar surface in the Ocean of Storms, west of the Craters Reiner and Marius, at the coordinates 64 degrees 22 minutes west longitude and 7 degrees 8 minutes north latitude. 7 communication sessions with a total duration of more than 8 hours were conducted with the station. During these sessions, the AMS transmitted a panoramic image of the lunar surface near the landing site.
    The Luna-9 station worked for 7 days and transmitted three panoramas of the lunar surface to Earth. In addition, the station was equipped with a penetrometer, radiation densitometer and dynamograph, with the help of which the first ever instrumental study of the density and strength of the surface layer of the lunar soil


    “Luna-9” with a landing module was carried out .

    Figure of the Luna-9 descent module against the background of its orbital module.

    The remaining Luna-10,11,12,14 stations did not land on our natural satellite, but made measurements of the near-moon space.


    Also, the Mars and Venus satellites were launched on these launch vehicles. The USSR again snatched the primacy from the USA, but now it was the launch of a satellite to other planets.

    Mars-1 is an automatic interplanetary station of the second generation of the Mars program. One of the three AMCs of the M-62 series. The spacecraft was intended to conduct scientific research of Mars from the flight path, transmitting information about interplanetary space and about space near Mars. The first spacecraft to fly to Mars - "Mars-1" was created in the Design Bureau S.P. Korolev and launched in 1962, but did not reach the planet.

    AMC "Mars-1" model.

    "Venus-1" - an automatic interplanetary station designed to study the planet Venus. Venus-1 became the first spacecraft to fly 100,000 km from the planet Venus. At different stages of the launch, it was sometimes referred to as "heavy satellite 02" or "Sputnik-8." From the Venera-1 station, data were transmitted on measurements of the solar wind parameters (after the Luna-1 station opened the solar wind) and cosmic rays in the vicinity of the Earth, as well as at a distance of 1.9 million kilometers from the Earth. As we know, 41.4 million km to Venus and a distance of 1.9 million km “Venus-1” completed in just 7 days, until the connection was lost. The reason was a rather annoying circumstance. Communication with the satellite was not constant, but on the command of the on-board automation, which turned on at the set time and when it exited, communication became impossible. Which is what happened. Subsequently, scientists recognized that the costs of constant communication are not so critical and will fully pay off if the connection is not disconnected and the satellite is not lost forever. But even for such a short time that the station was in touch with the MCC, a lot of discoveries and innovations were made. This was the first apparatus designed to study planets. For the first time, the orientation technique along the three axes of the spacecraft along the Sun and the Canopus star was applied. For the first time, a parabolic antenna was used to transmit telemetric information. quite a lot of discoveries and innovations were made. This was the first apparatus designed to study planets. For the first time, the orientation technique along the three axes of the spacecraft along the Sun and the Canopus star was applied. For the first time, a parabolic antenna was used to transmit telemetric information. quite a lot of discoveries and innovations were made. This was the first apparatus designed to study planets. For the first time, the orientation technique along the three axes of the spacecraft along the Sun and the Canopus star was applied. For the first time, a parabolic antenna was used to transmit telemetric information.

    "Venus-1" is the first satellite sent towards the nearest planet.

    Soon, on November 12, 1965, the Venera-2 station was launched and after 4 days the Venera-3 station, which was planned to land on Venus. But due to problems in the control system, the task was never completed. The Venera-3 station was the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet and the Venera-2 station flew over Venus at a distance of 24,000 km. During the flight with the Venera-3 station, 63 communication sessions were conducted (26 with the Venus-2). The stations stopped transmitting information already on approaching the planet, and so scientists have not yet been able to obtain any information about the nearest neighbor.


    “Venus-3” as seen from the photographs, the stations were very similar.

    The data obtained from Venus-3 were used to create Venus-4. The descent vehicle was supposed to operate at a temperature of 425 ° C and a pressure of up to 10 atmospheres. “Venus-4” consisted of an orbital compartment and a descent vehicle. All the telemetry equipment was in the orbital compartment, and in the descent vehicle the parachute and sensors, pressure, gas and sensors for determining the density of the atmosphere.
    Venus-4 used 6-bit telemetry with polling speeds of 1, 4, 16, and 64 bit / s, which could work in both direct transmission mode and recording mode with subsequent playback. To record TM information in standby mode, the telemetry system included a tape recorder with a capacity of 150 thousand bits. Information was transmitted at a speed of 64 bits per second through a parabolic pointed antenna (IT) with a diameter of ~ 2.3 meters. The temperature control system provided gas circulation in the orbital compartment with the help of a fan, and heat was discharged through a radiator-cooler built into a highly directional antenna.
    In the radio complex of the descent vehicle, the same transmitter was used as in the orbital compartment. The transmission of telemetric and scientific information was carried out directly from the descent vehicle to Earth. But, taking into account the distance to Venus, as well as the fact that the transfer of scientific information was carried out through a unidirectional antenna, the information transfer rate was only 1 bit per second.
    Before the launch, the lander was sterilized to prevent the introduction of microorganisms of terrestrial origin onto Venus.
    128 days after the launch, on October 18, 1967, the Venera-4 station approached the planet. The descent vehicle at the entrance to the atmosphere of Venus, which occurred on the night side of the planet near the equator 1,500 km from the morning terminator, experienced overloads of 300 units.
    The main result of the flight of the Venera-4 station was the first direct measurements of the temperature, density, pressure and chemical composition of the atmosphere of Venus.
    Gas analyzers showed a predominant content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus (~ 90%) and a very small content of oxygen and water vapor.
    Scientific instruments of the orbital apparatus of the Venera-4 station showed the absence of radiation belts in Venus, and the planet’s magnetic field was 3,000 times weaker than the Earth’s magnetic field. In addition, using the Sun's UV-radiation indicator, the hydrogen corona of Venus was discovered, containing about 1000 times less hydrogen than the upper atmosphere of the Earth. Atomic oxygen was not detected by the indicator.


    The descent vehicle "Venus-4"

    The satellites Venera-5.6 also reached Venus, and received data to create a more advanced spacecraft Venera-7.

    The spacecraft Venera-7 was designed to deliver a descent vehicle to the surface of Venus.
    Unlike previous expeditions, the main goal at launch in 1970 was to land on the planet’s surface. Therefore, the velocity of the wind near the surface of Venus, which was estimated to be 1.5 m / s, was also included in the composition of the initial data.

    Due to an increase of almost 100 kg in the mass of the descent vehicle compared to the Venus-5.6 descent vehicles, the orbital compartment had to be made as light as possible. All scientific equipment was removed from it, with the exception of the cosmic particle counter KS 18 4M.
    But even after that, the mass of the entire apparatus (1180 kg) turned out to be 50 kg more than the mass of Venus-5.6, which means that it exceeded the capabilities of the Molniya-M carrier. It was possible to increase the carrying capacity of the carrier by finalizing the tanks of the upper stage (it received the designation NVL), which made it possible to add 140 kg of fuel.

    The main result of the flight of the Venera-7 station was the achievement for the first time in the world of the surface of the planet Venus. At the same time, the device landed on the night side of Venus. Due to the failure of the telemetry switch, only information was obtained on the pressure, which is 90 ± 15 atmospheres, and the temperature - 475 ° ± 20 ° C.


    The descent vehicle "Venus-7"

    The spacecraft “Venus-8” was an improved model of “Venus-7”, by applying the received data from the previous satellite. And on July 22, 1972, the Venera-8 station reached the planet. Upon entering the atmosphere of Venus, a descent vehicle separated from the station. During aerodynamic drag in the atmosphere, during which the vehicle experienced overloads up to 335 g, its speed decreased from 11.6 km / s to 250 m / s, after which a parachute system was launched at an altitude of ~ 55 km. With the opening of the parachute, the transfer of scientific and official information began. After 55 minutes of smooth descent by parachute in the atmosphere, the device landed on the illuminated side of Venus 500 km from the morning terminator near the equator, and the vertical speed at the moment of contact was 8.3 m / s. Reception of the radio signal and telemetric information continued for another 50 minutes after landing. All this time, the on-board systems and scientific instruments worked normally, which made it possible to obtain complete information not only about the atmosphere of Venus, but also about the conditions on its surface.

    "Venus-8" is preparing for flight.

    The next launches to Venus were already on Proton, which I will discuss in the next part, since Proton is a heavy-class carrier rocket, its capabilities exceed all the rockets created in the USSR before it, which makes it possible to launch much more payload into space. The article promises to be very interesting.

    Also popular now: