Europe Goes to the Venus - The Journey of Venus Express

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J. Fabrega; T. Schirmann; D. McCoy; P. Sivac (2007), JBIS, 60, 430-438

Refcode: 2007.60.430
Keywords: Venus, ESA, spacecraft

On 9th November 2005, a Russian Soyuz-Fregat launcher boosted Venus Express into space from the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft reached its final destination 5 months later, on 11th April 2006, after a journey of 440 millions of kilometres in the solar system. It fired its main engine during 49 minutes and slowed down to be captured into orbit around the planet. A series of manoeuvres then led the spacecraft to its operational orbit, circling the poles with a period of 24h along a highly elliptical orbit, with an altitude between 250 km and 66,000 km. It has then undertaken the most comprehensive study ever of the Venusian atmosphere, over a period of at least 2 Venus sidereal days (486 days). Venus Express is the first European mission to Earth's twin, only two years after Mars Express, the first ESA mission to Mars. It was developed in less than 4 years from concept to launch, which also makes it the fastest ESA Science mission ever done. The global budget of the mission is 220 millions Euro, covering development of the spacecraft, launch and operations.

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