SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Model of the Venera 3 spacecraft. This Soviet unmanned spacecraft was launched on 16 November 1965. It was the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet, impacting the surface of Venus on 1 March 1966. It was designed to transmit information back to Earth, but the communications system failed before any information was sent. Other notable achievements of the Soviet Venera program include the first analysis by a spacecraft of the Venusian atmosphere (Venera 4), the first soft landing on Venus (Venera 7), and the first spacecraft to orbit Venus (Venera 9).
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