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Venus exploration - the Soviet story

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Venus exploration - the Soviet story - 6/25/2017 3:24:39 PM   


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The ultimate challenge of NASA is landing on the Moon. The hardest task for the Soviets is to land a probe on Venus using the historical sequence of launches. For NASA everything is correct - flyby, orbiter, multiprobe. The Soviets would need to start with the Venera 15 orbiter that was historically the last of Soviet probes available in game. In a campaign you are busy with the Moon anyway so it does not matter but if you try Venus in the historical sequence - Venus 7, 10, 11, 15 even in ''easy'' sandbox mode watch out!

Life was not a bed of roses for the real Soviets too - more than 10 failures of early probes. However, with Venera 7 or so they were more successful. In the game it is the other way.

Venera 17 is a lander that has 30% penalty if launched before a successful orbiter mission. In the game Venera 7 can be landed even with -30%.

Next mission from the ones in game historically was Venera 10, an orbiter/lander. Since you have already tricked Murphy's law once it starts to get angry with you but not too much.

Venera 11. By now hell breaks loose. Venera 10 was an orbiter so I hoped it would remove the - 30% penalty but it does not. And the 30% penalty by now has become a guaranteed 300% failure somewhere towards the end of the mission. The theoretical reliability rates do not work any more and neither do the usual measures like developing the components above 90%, assigning the best scientists and mission controllers etc. Tiger teams cannot handle the probe anyway and would be more useful in construction works. So far I have landed the probe only once, with 5 glitches and 1 near miss - a new record of glitches that beats my previous record. The second best result was failure in the atmosphere of Venus with the sixth glitch. The best idea seems to be scrubbing Venera 11 altogether and launching the orbiter after Venera 10.

Some more observations in practical murphology (study of Murphy's law)
- if you cannot handle a hard mission, try assigning tasks only to people you need leaving the rest of them ''available''. Bad practice in any other situation but seems to increase chance of success somehow. I have no idea why but maybe Murphy's law sees that I am already messed up and does not intervene.

Anyway, Venus was tough for the real Soviets at the beginning!

Here is that record breaking launch of Venus 11; no tiger teams used

Stage 4 - minor glitch, Proton
Stage 5 - minor glitch, Venera 9
Stage 6 - minor glitch, Venera 9
Stage 8 - minor glitch, Venera 9
Stage 9 - NEAR MISS, Venera 9
Stage 10 - minor glitch, Venera 9

Space probes did not become Heroes of the Soviet Union but this one really deserved it!

< Message edited by Marechal -- 6/25/2017 5:41:40 PM >
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