NASA PRESS RELEASE NO; 74-34                                                FOR RELEASE

                                                                                                             February 1, 1974

                                                                                                             3:00 pm

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has selected Hughes Aircraft Company, El Segundo, Calif., for negotiation leading to award of a contract for continuing design of a Pioneer Venus spacecraft system.

This selection follows the completion of competitively awarded system definition studies by Hughes and TRW Systems Group, Redondo Beach, Calif.

The proposed cost of the conceptual design work is approximately $3 million. The resulting contract will contain an option for further work including final design as well as development, fabrication, and testing of two flight spacecraft and launch support. The proposed cost of the optional effort is approximately $55 million. The contract will be a CPAF (cost-plus-award-fee) type.

The Pioneer Venus flights planned for 1978 will employ both spacecraft. One will orbit Venus in a highly elliptical trajectory, transmitting data for a full Venus year of approximately eight months. The second will explore the characteristics of the atmosphere of Venus down to the surface of the planet by ejecting one large and three small probes prior to Venus atmospheric entry by the spacecraft. These probes will transmit data to Earth during their hour-long descent through the hot dense atmosphere.

Pioneer Venus is anticipated to be one of the most scientifically rewarding programs ever proposed by the Office of Space Science. The atmosphere of Venus, will be probed, not only to increase our knowledge of Venus, but as a planetary laboratory in which some of the factors that determine Earth’s complex environment can be isolated and examined.

Project management of the Pioneer Venus missions has been assigned to the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., under the overall direction of the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters.

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