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France refuses to work with Russia on device for India's Venus mission — Space Institute

The device is intended to study the atmosphere of Venus by spectroscopy

MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. France has abandoned plans to create, together with Russia, a device for the orbiter that India plans to launch to Venus, Oleg Korablev, deputy director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the ExoMars project, head of the Planetary Physics department of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told TASS.

The device is intended to study the atmosphere of Venus by spectroscopy. Some of the components were supposed to be French.

"We have solved this issue [with components], we are conducting all the preparatory stages, [we are also] looking for suppliers, everything is in order," Korablev said, "Unfortunately, the French Space Agency announced that they are no longer interested in participating in this project, but we can buy everything ourselves".

Deputy Director of the Space Research Institute said that this option has already been agreed upon with Roscosmos. The key element, the detector, will be Russian-made. "In principle, there is also a Chinese analogue, but now we want to use a Russian one," Korablev said.

According to him, the French side initially planned to pay for the purchase of the detector. "Roscosmos approached the whole thing with understanding, with aspiration," Korablev added, "We agreed on new estimates, the costs; Russia itself will buy these components. And, accordingly, not of French manufacture".

Indian mission to Venus in question

The start of the Indian mission was scheduled for December 2024, the exit station to the Venusian orbit is planned for 2025, when the Earth and Venus will be close to each other and reaching Venus will be possible with minimal fuel consumption. The launch window is very limited. The next convenient launch window won't be until seven years from now, in 2031.

According to Korablev, there is no exact information at this time on whether India's first mission to Venus will take place. "It depends on the Indian partners, so far they haven't fully decided when. And whether it will happen at all. The mission has not been finally approved," he said.

The Space Research Institute Deputy Director also said that the Russian side might not have time to prepare the device by the previously announced date, since the requirements for the Russian developments are very high. "Unfortunately, the work on the device has not yet started," Korablev specified, "Because Roscosmos is not financing us yet as the Indian project is not confirmed. We are waiting for this moment, but time is running out. Perhaps, India can make devices in a year, but we cannot. Since the requirements to Russian devices and components are very high, there is the so-called certification of components, which is not so easy to procure. This is why our cycle is longer. So, because of this, we are a bit at odds with this launch date, if it is respected, of course."

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) previously reported that the Indian spacecraft will study processes on the surface of Venus, conduct shallow sub-surface stratigraphy, analyze the structure and dynamics of the atmosphere, as well as study the interaction of the solar wind with the Venusian ionosphere.