After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to below 130 km from the planet’s surface, Venus Express has embarked on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km.
Over the weekend the first two orbit raising manoeuvres were successfully executed – all 15 should be complete by 26 July.
Once Venus Express reaches this higher altitude orbit it will be allowed to decay naturally, eventually sinking into the atmosphere by December, ending its mission. However, it is possible that the spacecraft’s remaining fuel will run out during the thruster burns required to raise its orbit. If this occurs, it will no longer be possible to communicate with the craft and its orbit will once again decay.
Read the full story: Venus Express rises again on the ESA Portal.
We’ll post further updates here on the Rocket Science blog when they are available.