How many spacecraft have been to Venus?

What have we sent to the hottest planet in the Solar System?

Venera spacecraft on the surface of Venus

The Soviet Venera spacecraft returned the first-ever images from the surface of Venus

A total of 38 spacecraft have at least partially successfully completed a mission at Venus. About a dozen or so more have tried and failed to study this scorching hot world.

The first successful flyby of Venus was performed by NASA’s Mariner 2 spacecraft on 14 December 1962, following failed attempts by both the Soviet Union and the USA. The first successful landing was the Soviet Venera 4 lander, which touched down on the surface on 18 October 1967. This was followed by a number of other spacecraft in the Soviet Venus exploration programme, culminating in two balloons known as Vega 1 and 2 in June 1985 that flew in the Venusian atmosphere.

The most recent spacecraft to visit the planet is ESA’s Venus Express, which has been in orbit around Venus since 11 April 2006 performing scientific analysis and is expected to last until at least December 2014.

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