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Aerial Platforms for the Scientific Exploration of Venus

Summary Report by the Venus Aerial Platforms Study Team, October 2018, JPL D-102569

Aerial Platforms for the Scientific Exploration of Venus, Summary Report by the Venus Aerial Platforms Study Team, October 2018, JPL D-102569


In 1985, two balloons were inserted into the atmosphere as elements of the Venus-Halley (VeGa) mission, the last mission to Venus conducted by the Soviet Union In two Earth days, each balloon travelled approximately 11,500 km in the superrotating winds at an altitude of about 54 km, tracked by a global array of twenty radio observatories. Observations by instruments on the balloons and from radio tracking of their motion provided unique information on the circulation of the Venus atmosphere.

Question: I'd like to read more about this "global array of twenty radio observatories", especially how it was coordinated and distributed to provide continuous observation of Venus while the balloons transmitted. Where are these details described and what is a short summary?

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    $\begingroup$ Note: it probably means one or two were watching the balloon at any given time, but there were 20 in total. It probably doesn't mean that it took 20 observatories at once to watch the balloon. $\endgroup$ – user253751 Sep 21 '20 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ Not all worked in the interferometer mode. Often simply to receive and record data. $\endgroup$ – A. Rumlin Sep 21 '20 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ @user253751 yes that makes sense, anybody who could listen for telemetry would probably just record whatever data they could get. But it would be great to find a "duty roster" and a map at least, to see how the stations were spaced out geographically and how many were listening at any given time, and to see how much redundancy was actually achieved. The whole thing sounds cooperative and any time a space mission can do that it's great! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 22 '20 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @A.Rumlin your statement is intriguing. "Not all..." makes me wonder if some did! I wonder if they tracked it to see which direction it moved within the atmosphere using something like this? :-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 22 '20 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh For this, an interferometer with the size of the planet Earth was used (Mainly VLBI between Goldstone and Eupatoria Deep Space Communications Complexes). In English - mentallandscape.com/V_Vega.htm $\endgroup$ – A. Rumlin Sep 26 '20 at 5:43

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