[FPSPACE] Trajectories of Soviet 2MV Missions to Venus and Mars in1962

Bart Hendrickx bhen at telenet.be
Sun Jun 29 18:44:46 EDT 2014

A handful of declassified documents on the 1962 Venus and Mars missions were
published in the book "Sovetskiy kosmos" three years ago. The following
information may be useful for the trajectory analysis : 

The Venus missions :

In a document sent to the Central Committee on 11 August 1962 the launch
window is given as 15 August - 11 September 1962. Three missions were being
prepared, one lander (2MV-1), one flyby probe (2MV-2) and what is only
described as a "back-up mission". The first launch was expected to carry a
lander and the second a fly-by probe (so it looks like the launch of the
second lander (the "back-up mission") was moved forward after the launch
failure of the first lander, with the flyby mission moving to the last slot
in the window). 

The launch mass given for all the probes 1100 kg. The mass given for the
landing device is 370 kg.

The probes were expected to reach the "vicinity of Venus" 90 to 140 days
after launch after having covered 75 million km. A course correction was
expected to be carried out between 20 to 90 days after launch at distance of
5 to 50 million km from Earth. The big margin in the arrival date is
strange. As for the date of the course correction, that probably depended on
the accuracy of the launch.

The flyby probe was expected to come to within a distance of 1000 to 2000 km
from the Venusian surface and send back pictures and other data.

Also published are telegrams sent to the Central Committee after the two
first launch failures. The launch time given for the first mission is 25
August at 5.56 Moscow time (=2.56 GMT, about 40 minutes later than given by
other sources). The second launch was expected on 31 August (so seems to
have been a delayed by a day). Launch time given for the second launch is 1
September at 5.12 Moscow time (as reported elsewhere). On that day the third
probe (the flyby probe) was expected to be launched between 7 and 14
September (so it looks like the window was slightly stretched. In the 11
August document it had been explicitly stated that the mission objectives
could only be accomplished if the missions were launched before 11

The Mars missions :

The mission objectives are described in a document to the Central Committee
on 6 October 1962. The launch window is given as 25 October - 5 November
1962. The sequence of launches was the two flyby probes first, followed by
the lander (so the sequence wasn't changed).

Only the mass for the landing device is given (250 kg).

The expected arrival was "210 to 240 days after launch" (apparently this was
the case for all three probes, although the text can also be interpreted
such that this was the expected flight time for the lander). Two course
corrections were planned for all three probes : the first 50 to 70 days
after launch at a distance of "about 50 million km" and the second 15 days
before Mars arrival. 

Both flyby probes were to fly past the planet of a distance of 1000 to 2000
km and send back pictures. The first mission carried "extra telemetry
devices" to check the effectiveness of modifications made to the Blok-L
escape stage after the failed Venus launches in September.

The launch times for the failed missions given in the launch telegrams to
the Central Committee are the same as reported elsewhere.

Bart Hendrickx

-----Original Message-----
From: FPSPACE [mailto:fpspace-bounces at www.friends-partners.org] On Behalf Of
Drew LePage
Sent: zondag 29 juni 2014 15:47
To: fpspace at friends-partners.org
Subject: [FPSPACE] Trajectories of Soviet 2MV Missions to Venus and Mars

I've been interested in the old Soviet lunar and planetary missions for
decades as well as tackling the mysteries some of the early ones have
presented.  One of the tools I found to be useful unraveling some of these
mysteries (as well as raising new questions) has been an analysis of the
trajectories followed (or supposed to be followed) by Soviet missions to
Venus and Mars.  Two of the more recent analyses that I have performed but
not shared in this forum are for the 2MV-series spacecraft launched towards
Venus and Mars in 1962.  I provide the links below:

An analysis of the three unsuccessful (and unannounced) launches in
late-August to Early September 1962 to Venus that were suppose to compete
with NASA's Mariner 2 mission:


An analysis of the three missions to Mars launched in late-October to
early-November 1962 which included Mars 1 and a pair of unsuccessful (and
again, unannounced) sister craft - another flyby probe and the first Mars
lander.  Also discussed are results from simulations of the entry trajectory
into the Martian atmosphere:



Andrew J. LePage
Senior Project Scientist

Visidyne, Inc.
111 South Bedford Street
Suite 103
Burlington, MA 01803

Tel: (781) 272-1220
Fax: (781) 229-8165

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