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I've been quite interested in Rocketlab's Photon satellite bus, which they claim to be able to send to Venus. I'm trying to get some kind of an idea of what kind of payload might possible be able to be carried on such a mission, but I'm having problems finding any real numbers. Any idea of the mass of a Photon interplanetary mission to Venus, specifically in the payload? I would prefer 2 numbers, one for achieving any kind of an orbit at all, and one that is a flyby mass (Would basically be the same as landing mass). Thanks!

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It turns out the answer is 15 kg to the atmosphere of Venus, with a 3 kg payload, as is what they are planning. This likely adds in the ability of the Photon bus to act as a relay and to release the 15 kg probe towards Venus.

Orbiting seems pretty much impossible, given the small payload capacity.

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    $\begingroup$ I was just about to leave this as a comment, because I've seen contradictory numbers in other articles. This one mentions a payload mass of 37kg, while this one mentions 27kg of useful payload (attributed to Peter Beck) but also notes that this doesn't match the 15kg/3kg numbers mentioned at the phosphine press conference. $\endgroup$ – ThisSuitIsBlackNot Sep 16 '20 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ It seems at least possible it could carry a heavier payload to Venus, but I'm guessing partially to not stress the system and partially to add in the relay capability the capacity is lowered. Still, it's pretty neat! $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Sep 16 '20 at 19:21

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