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  • Allistair Mitchell

Tales from the Edict 20 - Venus Favours the Bold

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

Russia’s love affair with Venus started in 1961 when the Soviet Union first attempted to send a space probe to the planet, The Venera 1. Both it and Venera 2 suffered telemetry failure and came to nothing. Venera 3 did impact with Venus, becoming the first human-made object to reach another planet in 1966. However, telemetry again failed on arrival.

In October 1967, Venera 4 delivered data on the atmosphere though it did not survive the unanticipated crushing pressure. Subsequent missions delivered data as they descended by parachute before battery failure. Over the course of 27 missions the Soviets steadily gained more knowledge, but Venus proved elusive to man’s probing.

The launch of ROS Venera-D in February 2028 was a logical continuation of the allure of Venus to what is now the Russian Federation. The unmanned orbital platform departed Earth orbit as four modules (two habitation, two scientific) plus a propulsion system, but grew to double its size over the course of the following 3 years before a manned flight arrived at the Venera-D and it became a functioning space station in 2035.

Intense study of the planet surface followed and after a series of unmanned landers (Prebytiye 1–3) a manned mission was planned for 2039 and the Venusian lander was despatched from Earth orbit to rendezvous with Venera-D but was lost in transit. A new lander launched into Earth orbit and was scheduled to make the transit as of November 2040, but other priorities have kept the spacecraft in Low Earth orbit with ROS Budushcheye.

Much progress has been made in the study of Venus, nearly all of it by the Russian Federation and subsequently the Kremlin Collective who acquired the commercial rights and property of the Russian state space programme. Plans were made public for surface mining and resource extraction systems to be landed on the planet by 2045 using an upgraded and up armoured extraction rig, to withstand the crushing atmosphere, but indications are that this timetable has slipped to 2050 and beyond. However, Venus remains a source of a wide mix of elements useful for off world manufacturing, in particular orbital construction utilising carbon and oxygen drawn from the planet’s atmosphere. The first prototype atmospheric dredging systems are to be tested in Venus’s atmosphere sometime before 2048.

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