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Post Info TOPIC: Venus Express


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RE: Venus Express
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T minus 30 minutes

The mission is on schedule for a launch at 03:33 GMT (10:33 p.m. EST)

The launch will be streamed by ESA (Starting at 03:28 GMT, 4:28 CET)
WebCast (windows media webcast)

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T minus 40 minutes

Retraction of the service gantry.

Fuelling complete.
All systems are go.

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T minus 1 hour 25 minutes

Fuelling of the Soyuz rocket with its liquid propellants is underway for tonight's launch of the Venus Express orbiter .

Lift-off remains set for 03:33 GMT (10:33 p.m. EST).

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T minus 1 hour 40 minutes


ESOC's Main Control Room, (live), will be the scene of intense activity for the launch and early operation phase (LEOP) for Venus Express, ESA's mission to Earth's closest planetary neighbour.

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T minus 2 hours

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T minus 2 hours 40 minutes

Part of the launch pad no. 6 area at Baikonur, as seen from the top of the integrated launcher standing on the launch pad.410



The fully integrated Soyuz FG-Fregat vehicle carrying Venus Express erected on the launch complex.

Credit ESA

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T minus 3 hours

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The image shows the projected ground trace for the Venus Express spacecraft during the cruise phase.


Expand (537kb, 2095 x 1024)
The path of the Venus Express spacecraft and Fregat upper stage over the surface of the Earth prior to the second firing of the upper stage and transfer to an escape trajectory.

The launch of the spacecraft has three stages

* Insertion into a parking orbit (10 minutes)
* Cruise phase (1h 10 minutes)
* Boost to escape trajectory (16 minutes)

The lower three stages of the Soyuz rocket will carry Venus above Earth's atmosphere. From there, the Fregat motor will ignite to propel the spacecraft into a preliminary parking orbit. Venus Express and the attached Fregat then coast for more than an hour before the upper stage re-ignites to provide the boost to escape Earth's gravity and begin the cruise to Venus.

The spacecraft should reach our planetary neighbour on April 11, firing its main engine to brake into orbit around Venus.

Once it is captured by Venusian gravity, Venus Express will take 5 days to manoeuvre into its operation orbit, looping around the poles of the planet.

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Venus Express on Launch Pad 1

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On Wednesday, 9 November 2005, a Soyuz-Fregat rocket carrying the Venus Express will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
The celestial orbits of the planets in our Solar System has given Venus Express the opportunity to travel to Venus on the best route. Every nineteen months Venus reaches the point where a voyage from Earth is the most fuel-efficient. To take advantage of this opportunity, ESA has opted to launch Venus Express within the first possible ‘launch window’, which opened on 26 October and will close on 24 November this year.

Due to the relative motion of Earth and Venus, plus Earth’s daily rotation, there is only one short period per day when it is possible to launch, lasting only a few seconds. The launch is now planned for November 9th at 04:33 Central European Time (CET) (09:33 in Baikonur).

Venus Express will take only 155 days to reach Venus. Then, in April 2006, the spacecraft will begin its exploration mission of Venus, more than ten years after humankind paid the last visit.

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