* Astronomy

Members Login
Post Info TOPIC: Venus Express


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
RE: Venus Express
Permalink  
 


One hundred days after beginning its cruise to Venus, ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft successfully tested its main engine for the first time in space.

The main engine test is a critical step in the mission. In fact, it is due to its powerful thrust that Venus Express will be able to ‘brake’ on arrival at Venus. The spacecraft must slow down in order to be captured in orbit around the planet.
The engine was fired during the night of 16/17 February, starting at 01:27 CET (00:27 UT) and the ‘burn’ lasted for about three seconds. Thanks to this engine burn, the spacecraft changed its velocity by almost three metres per second.
About one hour later, the data received from the spacecraft by the Venus Express ground control team (via ESA’s New Norcia antenna in Australia) revealed that the test was successful.

The next big milestone is the Venus Orbit Insertion manoeuvre on 11 April 2006, which will require the main engine firing sequence to operate for about 51 minutes in the opposite direction to the spacecraft motion. This braking will allow the spacecraft to counteract the pull of the Sun and Venus, and to start orbiting the planet.

Venus Express is currently at a distance of about 47 million kilometres from Earth.

-- Edited by Blobrana at 00:57, 2006-02-18

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

The Venus Express Launch:
Watch the launch replay (media player)

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

Venus Express is now on its five-month, 250 million-mile flight to Venus. The relatively short voyage takes advantage of the close proximity between Earth and Venus this month.


Expand ( 350kb, 1660 x 2500)
Venus Express begins its voyage with launch of the Soyuz rocket. Credit: ESA/Starsem


Expand (250kb, 1242 x 862)
The Soyuz rocket roars away from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Credit: ESA/Starsem

At least two correction burns by the Venus Express propulsion system are planned during the cruise phase of the mission, with the first coming within 48 hours after launch, if needed. Another manoeuvre in the February timeframe will calibrate the main engine, which is required during arrival at the planet for the make-or-break Venus orbit insertion burn. Other time slots have been reserved in case other adjustments are needed.


Expand (81kb, 850 x 638)
Satellite cutaway

Two weeks from now, Venus Express will train its camera back toward the Earth and Moon for another test activity.

"Given the distance, this will be more a calibration for one of the instruments rather than a real picture" - Andrea Accomazzo, Express spacecraft operations manager.

An exhaustive series of checks of the probe's scientific payload will also be carried out during the first few weeks of the mission, followed by a complete characterization of the thermal behaviour of the craft in January and the main engine test in February before focus shifts to the fine navigation and other preparations in advance of the April 11 arrival at Venus.



__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

T + 20 minutes
All systems nominal

The spacecraft will now coast for more than an hour before the upper stage is re-started to propel the spacecraft to Venus.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

T + 15 minutes
All systems nominal

Fregat upper stage burn to achieve initial parking orbit around the Earth

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

T + 10 minutes
All systems nominal

Third stage cut off next.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

T + 6 minutes
Separation of protective shroud (the fairing)
All systems nominal

Ignition of the first stage.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

T + 3 minutes
Separation of boosters all systems nominal

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

Launch

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

T minus 15 minutes

__________________
«First  <  14 5 6 7 8  >  Last»  | Page of 8  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.



Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard