Venera 13 & Venera 14

Photo of Venera satellites in a museum


* Mission Overview

Venera 13 was launched on 30 October 1981 and Venera 14 was launched on 4 November 1981. They journeyed to Venus and deposited their landers on 1 March and 5 March 1982, respectively. There were 2 high-energy instruments aboard each spacecraft, one a continuation of the French-Soviet collaboration and one called the "Konus" experiment. These experiments returned data until March 1983.

* Instrumentation

Venera 13 and 14 contained the "Konus" experiments to observe cosmic gamma-ray bursts. The instrument consisted of 6 scintillators with angular sensitivities which were close to cosinusoidal. The detectors were arranged along the positive and negative directions of the axes of the satellite. The instrument was sensitive to 30 keV - 2 MeV. The maximum time resolution was 1/256 s. Background was measured over the energy range 45-200 keV every 20 minutes. Every 4 hours, background was measured over the region 20 keV - 2 MeV. Eight seconds of preburst data were kept when a burst mode was triggered, and recorded with 0.25 s resolution. The burst itself was measured with a resolution of 1/256 s for 0.875 s, followed by a resolution of 1.64 s for 12 s, and finally with a resolution of 1.4 s for 128 s. The spectra were taken by Venera 13 in 16 channels over an integration time of either 0.5 s or 4 s. Venera 14 took spectra in 30 energy channels with the same 0.5 and 4 s integration options.

There was also an updated version of the SNEG-2M3 (which was aboard Venera 11 & 12) experiment aboard Venera 13 & 14. The following features remained the same: dimensions of detectors, temporal characteristics, calibration energy scale, and nomogram SNEG-2M3. There were again 2 detectors pointed in the solar/antisolar directions. The "burst" part of the instrument changed. To trigger the burst mode, there had be a 6.5 sigma increase in the count rate in less than 1 s, where sigma is the dispersion of the averaged measured background. This increased the event analysis time by a factor of 4, and the recording threshold was reduced 30%. Bursts wererecorded over the energy range 50-800 keV. Improved photomultipliers allowed measurements to be taken with a low energy threshold of 45-65 keV during the first 10 months of operation.

* Science

The data from Venera 13 & 14 produced a confirmed gamma-ray burst event of 1 every 3 days, a factor of 3 better than had been deduced previously from Venera 11 & 12 and Prognoz 7. A total of 44, mostly confirmed, cosmic gamma-ray events were detected between November 1981 and March 1982 by the 2 instruments.


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