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Vega Solar System Probe Bus and Landing Apparatus


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Space Science exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

In 1984 the Soviet Union launched the Vega 1 and Vega 2 spacecraft, which flew by Venus, dispatched scientific instruments into its atmosphere, then went on to pass through the tail of Comet Halley and transmit data on it back to Earth. The multinational mission involved scientists and instruments from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, East and West Germany, Hungary, Poland, the United States, and the Soviet Union, and marked a new era of international cooperation for the Soviet space program.

French scientists designed Vega's main Venus experiment, a balloon carrying scientific instruments that was released into the atmosphere to measure cloud activity. Vega also released a Soviet-designed lander to investigate the planet's surface. This bus, for carrying the atmospheric experiment, and the landing apparatus are engineering models donated to the Museum by J. Buckner Hightower and Gregory W. Schnurr and Lavochkin Scientific Production Association.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Gift of J. Buckner Hightower and Gregory W. Schnurr and Lavochkin Scientific Production Association


  • Atmosphere Balloon - Rubberized Fabric
  • Balloon Package - Metals and Plastic Film, Some Tape and Wires
  • Landing Package - Painted Fiberglass
  • Orbital Bus - Various Painted Metals and Chrome, Wires


Overall: 16 ft. 15/16 in. tall x 30 ft. 2 3/16 in. wide, 8818.4 lb. (490 x 920cm, 4000kg)

Country of Origin




Inventory Number