Encyclopedia Astronautica
Pioneer 13



venmulti.jpg
Venus Multiprobe
Credit: NASA
American Venus probe. 5 launches, 1978.08.08 (Pioneer Venus 2) to (Pioneer Venus Probe 4). The Pioneer Venus Multiprobe consisted of a bus which carried one large and three small atmospheric probes.

. After release from the carrier vehicle, the probes entered the atmosphere at 41,600 km/hr, followed by the bus. The small probes were each targeted at different parts of the planet and were named accordingly.

The North probe entered the atmosphere at about 60 degrees north latitude on the day side. The night probe entered on the night side. The day probe entered well into the day side, and was the only one of the four probes which continued to send radio signals back after impact, for 67 minutes. The carrier vehicle, not designed for atmospheric re-entry, followed the probes into the Venusian environment and relayed data about the characteristics of the extreme outer atmosphere until it was destroyed by atmospheric heating. Despite their drastically different roles, the Orbiter and Multiprobe were very similar in design. The use of identical systems (including flight hardware, flight software, and ground test equipment) and incorporation of existing designs from previous missions (including OSO and Intelsat) allowed the mission to meet its objectives at minimum cost.

Spacecraft

  • Multiprobe bus (Carrier vehicle) - With no heat shield or parachute, the bus survived and made measurements only to about 110 km altitude before burning up. The bus was a 2.5 m diameter cylinder weighing 290 kg. Spin stabilized. Body mounted solar panels provided 241 W. Payloads: Ion Mass Spectrometer (BIMS) - studied the composition of the upper atmosphere. Neutral Mass Spectrometer (BNMS) - studied the composition of the upper atmosphere.

  • Large probe - Weighed 315 kg. Consisted of 3 parts: a forward heat shield, an aft protective cover and a spherical titanium pressure vessel (73 cm diameter). Total probe diameter was 1.5 m. After deceleration from initial atmospheric entry at about 11.5 km/s near the equator on the Venus night side, the heat shield and protective cover were jettisoned, and a parachute was deployed at 47 km altitude to further slow descent. After parachute deployment, the exposed pressure vessel and its instrument package descended for about 1 1/2 hour before impact. During descent, the instruments were powered by batteries. Nine observation windows (8 sapphire and 1 diamond) were provided for instrument observations.3 pressure vessel penetrations were also provided as inlets for direct atmospheric sampling. Payload: Atmospheric Structure (LAS). Nephelometer (LN) - studied cloud particles. Cloud Particle Size Spectrometer (LCPS) - measured particle size and shape. Gas Chromatograph (LGC) - studied atmospheric composition. Infrared Radiometer (LIR) - monitored the distribution of infrared radiation. Neutral Particle Mass Spectrometer (NPMS) - studied atmospheric composition. Solar Flux Radiometer (LSFR) - examined solar flux penetration into the atmosphere. Differential Long Base Line Interferometer (DLBI). Atmospheric Propagation (MPRO) - temperature, pressure, and acceleration measurements.

  • Small probes - Each probe weighed 75 kg and was 0.8 m in diameter. Consisted of 3 parts: a forward heat shield, an aft protective cover and a spherical titanium pressure vessel. Unlike the large probe, the heat shield and protective cover remained attached to the pressure vessel, and no parachutes were deployed. Prior to atmospheric entry, each probe deployed a yo-yo despin device to reduce its spin rate from 48 to 15 rpm. Batteries provided power during descent (which lasted approx.75 minutes). Payload: Nephelometer. Temperature, pressure, and acceleration sensors. Net flux radiometer - mapped the distribution of sources and sinks of radiative energy in the atmosphere. Radio signals from all four probes were also used to characterize winds, turbulence, and propagation in the atmosphere.

Height: 2.90 m (9.50 ft).
First Launch: 1978.08.08.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NASA Ames American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Ames, USA. More...
  • Hughes American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Hughes Aircraft Co. , USA More...

Associated Programs
  • Pioneer The Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pioneer series were the first US probes sent towards the moon. Later Pioneers explored the heliocentric space environment and were the first spacecraft to reach the outer planets and to escape from the solar system. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lockheed Martin Coporation, Atlas Family Fact Sheets, September 1998.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • National Space Science Center Planetary Page, As of 19 February 1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC36A Atlas launch complex. Launch site built in 1960 for NASA's Atlas/Centaur development program, and used for launches of that launch vehicle until its retirement. More...

Pioneer 13 Chronology


1978 August 8 - . 07:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur SLV-3D. LV Configuration: SLV-3D Centaur AC-51 / Centaur D-1AR 5031.
  • Pioneer Venus 2 - . Payload: Pioneer-Venus 2. Mass: 904 kg (1,992 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 13. Decay Date: 1978-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 11001 . COSPAR: 1978-078A. The Pioneer Venus Multiprobe consisted of a bus which carried one large and three small `atmospheric probes. The large probe was released on November 16, 1978 and the three small probes on November 20. All four probes entered the Venus atmosphere on December 9, followed by the bus. The small probes were each targeted at different parts of the planet and were named accordingly. The North probe entered the atmosphere at about 60 degrees north latitude on the day side. The night probe entered on the night side. The day probe entered well into the day side, and was the only one of the four probes which continued to send radio signals back after impact, for over an hour. With no heat shield or parachute, the bus survived and made measurements only to about 110 km altitude before burning up. It afforded the only direct view of the upper Venus atmosphere, as the probes did not begin making direct measurements until they had decelerated lower in the atmosphere.
  • Pioneer Venus Probe 1 - . Payload: Pioneer-Venus 2. Mass: 315 kg (694 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 13. Decay Date: 1978-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 12103 . COSPAR: 1978-078D.
  • Pioneer Venus Probe 2 - . Payload: Pioneer-Venus 2. Mass: 90 kg (198 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 13. Decay Date: 1978-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 12104 . COSPAR: 1978-078E.
  • Pioneer Venus Probe 3 - . Payload: Pioneer-Venus 2. Mass: 90 kg (198 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 13. Decay Date: 1978-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 12105 . COSPAR: 1978-078F.
  • Pioneer Venus Probe 4 - . Payload: Pioneer-Venus 2. Mass: 90 kg (198 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 13. Decay Date: 1978-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 12106 . COSPAR: 1978-078G.

1978 December 9 - .
  • Pioneer Venus 2, Venus Atmospheric Probes - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Pioneer 13.

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