Venus Express Italian Day on 4 October

Artist's impression of Venus Express
Artist's impression of Venus Express
30 September 2004

ESA PR 55-2004. To mark completion of the assembly of the Venus Express spacecraft, Alenia Spazio is holding a Venus Express Day on 4 October in Turin, Italy, in cooperation with Astrium SAS and the European Space Agency.

Venus Express is the first European mission to this, the second planet in the Solar System. Often referred to as ‘Earth’s twin’, Venus holds many mysteries that intrigue scientists.

The main question is why a planet similar to Earth in size, mass and composition could have evolved so differently over the course of the last four thousand million years.

Venus Express will make the first multispectral global examination of the atmosphere of Venus. Completely different from the one around Earth, the Venusian atmosphere appears to be hot and dense. Venus Express will investigate the choking ‘greenhouse’ effect, the hurricane-force winds that encircle the planet, and its mysteriously weak magnetic field.

Completion of assembly of the Venus Express spacecraft, including integration and testing of the flight equipment and experiments, is an important milestone. Scheduled for launch on 26 October 2005, Venus Express is currently being made ready for shipment to Astrium, ESA’s prime contractor, in Toulouse, France in mid-October this year. There, further tests to prove the spacecraft's flight readiness will take place.

The programme of the event is as follows:

10:30 - Welcoming addresses
L.M. Quaglino, Director of Alenia Spazio Infrastructures and Scientific Satellites
M. Coradini, ESA Solar System Missions Coordinator

10:45 - ESA presentations
The Venus Express project, D. McCoy, ESA Project Manager for Venus Express
The Scientific Mission, H. Svedhem, ESA Project Scientist for Venus Express

11:30 - Alenia Spazio: Role and activities on Venus Express
G. Finocchiaro and M. Patroncini, Alenia Spazio Project Management for Venus Express

The presentations will be followed by a visit to the Venus Express Hardware and a Q & A session. The programme will be concluded with a buffet lunch at 13:00.

The event takes place on Monday, 4 October, at 10:15 hours at the premises of Alenia Spazio, C.so Marche 41, Torino, Italy. Members of the media who would like to attend are asked to contact :

Viviana Panaccia
Alenia Spazio Press Office
Tel: +39 0641514130
E-Mail: panaccia@roma.alespazio.it

Franco Perna
Alenia Spazio Press Office
Tel: +39 0641512432
E-mail: ufficiostampa@roma.alespazio.it

More information about Venus Express can be found at: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/spk.html

For further information please contact:

ESA Media Relations Division
Tel : +33(0)1.53.69.7155
Fax : +33(0)1.53.69.7690

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