Venera 7, the first orbiter spacecraft with a lander in tow, launched on August 17, 1970. After a four month transit to Venus, the landing probe separated the orbiter on December 15 and plunged into Venus' thick atmosphere. After a period of aerodynamic braking, the upper hatch and heat shield released, exposing the spacecraft the elements and releasing the parachute that slowed the lander. The chute was released six minutes later; Venus’ dense atmosphere was enough to slow the lander for the final 29 minutes of its descent. It landed successfully, Data was transmitted from the surface for one second before the signal failed, but post-flight analysis of the recorded radio signal reveled that the probe had actually transmitted data for 23 minutes before succumbing to Venus’ environment. Venera 8 followed, launching on March 27, 1972. It reached Venus on July 22, 1972, and once it reached the surface it sent back data for 63 minutes.