Venus Express mission facts
|How the mission was named:||The name Venus Express comes from the short time to define, prepare and launch the mission. It took less than three years from the approval to the launch of the mission. To do this, ESA re-used the same design as the Mars Express mission and the same industrial teams that worked on that mission.|
|Prime contractor:||EADS Astrium, Toulouse, France, leading a team of 25 subcontractors from 14 European countries.|
|Launch date:||9 November 2005 (Soyuz-Fregat from Baikonur, Kazakhstan).|
|Launcher:||Soyuz/Fregat, built by Starsem, the European/Russian launcher consortium|
|Launch mass:||1270 kg (including 93 kg orbiter payload and 570 kg fuel)|
|Orbiter instruments:||Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC); Analyser of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA); Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS); Visible/Ultraviolet/Near-infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIRTIS); Venus Express Magnetometer (MAG); Venus Radio Science Experiment (VeRa); Ultraviolet and Infrared Atmospheric Spectrometer (SPICAV/SOIR);|
|Spacecraft operations:||European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt, Germany|
After launch, ground stations at Villafranca (15 m), Spain, New Norcia (35 m), Australia, and Kourou (15 m), French Guiana, will be used for communication and orbit determination.
At Venus, Cebreros (35 m) near Madrid, Spain. The New Norcia antenna will be used to support the Venus Radio science experiments.
|Arrival at Venus:||April 2006|
The launcher placed the spacecraft into a transfer orbit to Venus. It will travel through space for 155 days and, once it is captured by Venusian gravity, it will take five days to manoeuvre into its operational orbit.
| Venus Express firsts:
Venus Express will study our nearest planetary neighbour. It has been built around the design of Mars Express, making it quicker and cheaper to develop. In particular, Venus Express will study the Venusian atmosphere and clouds in unprecedented detail and accuracy. It is ESA's first spacecraft to visit this planet.With Venus Express, Mars Express and BepiColombo, ESA is the only space agency in the world with current plans to visit each planet in the inner Solar System.