Of the 30 space missions to successfully fly by or orbit Venus to date, more than one-third were part of the former Soviet Union’s Venera series of robotic probes.
Launched between 1961 and 1983, the Venera (or “Venus” in Russian”) missions were focused on studying the second planet from our sun. Of the 28 spacecraft launched, 13 entered the Venusian atmosphere and eight successfully touched down on the surface.
The Soviet program set several firsts, including the first probe to descend into the atmosphere of a planet other than Earth; the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on another planet; and the first missions to return images and sounds from the surface of another planet.
Roscosmos, Russia’s federal space corporation, is now developing the first new Venera mission since the fall of the Soviet Union. Venera-D, targeted for launch in 2029, would include an orbiter and a lander and serve as a model for future missions to Venus.
Click through the slideshow to learn all about the Venera probes and their discoveries.