Tag Archives: aerobraking

The hottest, bumpiest week yet for Venus Express

Venus Express is now in the final week of its aerobraking campaign, and the spacecraft is about as low as it’s going to get. At last pericentre passage, its altitude was only 129.9 km - and this...

VEX pericentre evolution aerobraking 3 July 2014. Credit: ESA

Venus Express goes even lower

Update contributed by the VEX team – Ed. Here’s the latest plot showing the lowest altitudes reached by Venus Express on each of its aerobraking orbits. Yesterday morning, 2 July, the spacecraft performed another manoeuvre designed to lower...

Colin Wilson

Hotter and hotter

In the past ten days, we saw the acceleration felt by the spacecraft as it dips into the atmosphere. However, it’s not these accelerations which threaten the spacecraft – instead, it’s the heating of the spacecraft which...

VEX pericentre height evolution

Aerobraking update

Venus Express completed the 38th aerobraking orbit on 25 June with pericentre passage expected to have occurred at 21:37:04z; the spacecraft was in braking mode between 19:59:05z and 21:54:05z. The predicted pericentre height was 132.7 km (the...

Evolution of pericentre passage as of 23 June. Credit: ESA

Venus Express enters an unknown realm

Operations team lowers altitude of pericentre passage Today’s blog post was contributed by Colin Wilson at the Dept. of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Oxford University, with inputs from the operations team at ESOC. Colin is Venus...

This chart shows the planned evolution of the Venus Express pericentre (point of closest approach to surface) altitude during the aerobraking campaign. Units: km. Credit: ESA

Aerobraking starts today – Update 17:00CEST

UPDATE 17:00CEST Adam writes: Since the atmosphere is not as dense as was feared, we are planning a small manoeuvre next week to further lower the pericentre altitude by between 2 and 3 km. This combined with...

Venus Express ASPERA-4. Credit: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Institutet för rymdfysik, IRF)

Science during aerobraking

Today’s post highlights the continuation of science data gathering during the demanding aerobraking campaign, which formally gets underway today.

Venus Express aerobraking Credit: ESA

Venus Express aerobraking: quick update

A short update from the VEX flight team at ESOC today on progress of the aerobraking campaign. The quick news: it’s going very well! The 25th aerobraking orbit (Number 2975 in the mission overall) was completed earlier...

VEX SWE Report 5 June 2014

Space weather report for an alien world

There’s a detailed news article in the main ESA website today on the space weather reports being generated for Venus Express in support of the aerobraking campaign (see Space weather report for an alien world). This is the...

VEX flight control team at ESOC on 20 May 2014, 06:15 am. Almost all of the team came in to see how the spacecraft was looking following its first pericentre passage in braking mode.

Venus Express team during first aerobraking mode orbit

The slightly perplexed looks come from trying to understand what the Cebreros mimic diagram was showing us about the downlink signal – something which cannot be trained for in simulation, since we don’t use the real stations. In...

Visualisation of Venus Express during the aerobraking manoeuvre, which will see the spacecraft orbiting Venus at an altitude of around 130 km from 18 June to 11 July. In the month before, the altitude will gradually be reduced from around 200 km to 130 km. If the spacecraft survives and fuel permits, the elevation of the orbit will be raised back up to approximately 450 km, allowing operations to continue for a further few months. Eventually, however, the spacecraft will plunge back into the atmosphere and the mission will end. ESA–C. Carreau

Venus Express update

An update from Adam Williams, Venus Express operations manager at ESOC on the current ‘step-in’ prep phase for aerobraking – Ed. Venus Express has already encountered higher atmospheric density during the start of the walk-in (on 20 May –...

Cutaway diagram of VEX instruments

Venus Express on-board power update

The power situation on Venus Express is better than anticipated, so we are taking the opportunity to activate the two instruments (MAG and ASPERA) which can be operated during aerobraking mode for the next two planning cycles...