Tag Archives: express

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.

VEX orbit video
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Video from space: Orbiting with Venus Express

The movie below is based on actual images snapped by the Venus Monitoring Camera over a period of 18 hours during one of the spacecraft’s 24-hour orbits around the planet, 7–8 January 2012. It was compiled using...

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 –...

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

First aerobraking orbit – update at 16:17 CEST

A great report just in from Adam Williams at ESOC: Following analysis of the housekeeping data dumped during this morning’s communication pass, we can see that Venus Express is in excellent shape following its first pericentre passage...

Venus Express aerobraking Credit: ESA

Update at 06:37 CEST

This sent in this morning by Venus Express deputy Spacecraft Operations Manager Adam Williams: Just a quick note to let you know that we had nominal AOS following the first...

Venus Express SWE report 190514. Courtesy: ESA/SSA/SSCC Helpdesk

Venus Express space weather report No. 1

Have you ever read a live space weather report, just minutes after it was issued to support an operational spacecraft orbiting another planet? Neither have we! Here is today’s VEX space weather (SWE) report issued earlier this...

Venus Express aerobraking Credit: ESA
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Surfing an alien atmosphere

Eight years after arrival at our nearest planetary neighbour and now low on fuel, ESA's hugely successful Venus Express formally completes its routine scientific mission this week. But the spacecraft's knowledge gathering is by no means over.

First data via Malargüe station: Mars as seen by VMC

Marking its inauguration, ESA’s Malargüe tracking station receives Mars Webcam image. An image of the enigmatic Red Planet acquired by ESA’s Mars Express on 15 December 2012 was downloaded via ESA’s new tracking station in Malargüe, Argentina, symbolising ‘first data’ and recognising formal inauguration. Details on the station’s inauguration via ESA web and ESA media.

Malargüe station mosaic

A mosaic depicting ESA’s new 35m deep-space tracking station at Malargüe, Argentina, composed of several hundred low-resolution Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) images acquired by Mars Express. On 18 December 2012, the station downloaded a VMC image from Mars Express orbiting some 328 million kilometres from Earth to mark the station’s formal inauguration and the symbolic transmission of ‘first data’. The image was received at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, and processed by the Mars Express mission operations team. Photo mosaic generated using AndreaMosaic, an excellent piece of software!