[FPSPACE] Venera 7 - "lost" its parachute just before touchdown?

Larry Klaes lklaes@bbn.com
Fri, 18 Aug 2000 14:54:28 -0400


The first space probe to send data from the surface of another 
planet was launched on thirty years ago this week on August 17, 
1970 from the USSR.  

Named Venera 7, it reached the surface of the planet Venus on 
December 15, 1970 and radioed back confirmation that the planet's 
surface air pressure was ninety times that of Earth and over 475 
degrees Celsius (900 degree Fahrenheit) on a global scale.

But the information did not come easy...

The URL:

http://www.space.com/news/spacehistory/venera7_000817.html


One item in this article I find inaccurate is the claim
that the main descent parachute on Venera 7 was "lost" at
an altitude of only 10 meters (32 feet), seeming to end
the mission right there.  I have never read this before,
not to mention how would they know that Venera 7 lost its
parachute or what would make such an event happen?  

All reports I have read say that Venera 7 sent signals for 
35 minutes while descending through the air, then suddenly 
seemed to stop transmitting.  Apparently the probe tipped 
over upon landing, making its antennae point away from Earth, 
greatly reducing the signal strength.

In addition, even if the probe fell from that low height, it 
certainly would not be destroyed.  The later Veneras came 
down from much higher altitudes without the aid of parachutes 
and survived because the air is so thick (granted they had
aerobrake discs).  Any comments on this article item?


Some relevant Web sites on Venera 7:

http://www.friends-partners.org/~mwade/project/venera.htm

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/tmp/1970-060A.html

http://vsm.host.ru/e_venera.htm

http://sunra.colorado.edu:80/david/ch3.html

http://www.seds.org/pub/info/newsletters/ejasa/1993/jasa9302.txt


This article from Sven Grahn includes the sounds 
of the companion probe to Venera 7 that did not make
it out of Earth orbit and was called Cosmos 359.
I always find it to be a haunting piece:

http://www.users.wineasy.se/svengrahn/trackind/Kosm359/Kosm359.htm

Larry