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Zond 1: The First Lander Sent to Venus

2 Apr 2020, 06:19 UTC
Zond 1: The First Lander Sent to Venus
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

During the opening years of the Space Age, the Soviet Union took an early lead with an impressive series of space firsts: the first satellite, the first animal in orbit, the first lunar probe, the first lunar impact and the first human in orbit to name a few. And because of their early lead in rocket lift capability afforded by launch vehicles based on the R-7 ICBM (also known as the 8K71), the Soviet Union’s spacecraft were much more massive than their miniaturized American counterparts of the time (see “The Largest launch Vehicles Through History“).
The first Soviet planetary probes used the four-stage 8K78 Molniya like the one shown here being erected on its launch pad for a 1M Mars probe launch in October 1960. (RKK Energia)
Soviet space ambitions were no confined to the Earth’s neighborhood. Shortly after the launch of the first Sputnik satellites, the engineers and scientists at the Soviet’s premier aerospace design bureau, OKB-1 (the Russian acronym for Experimental Design Bureau 1, the forerunner of today’s Russian aerospace giant, RKK Energia) run by the legendary Soviet space engineer, Sergei Korolev, was already developing automated planetary probes and the launch vehicle needed to send them to Venus ...

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