37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 54 Moon, Mercury and Venus
Oral, Thursday, September 8, 2005, 4:20-6:00pm, Law LG19

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[54.02] Venus Express - the First European Mission to Venus

D. V. Titov (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Studies), H. Svedhem (ESA/ESTEC), Venus Express Team

The ESA Venus Express mission is based on reuse of the Mars Express spacecraft and the payload available from the Mars Express and Rosetta missions. In less than 3 years the spacecraft was rebuilt with modifications to cope with harsh environment at Venus and fully tested. The Venus Express will be launched in the end of October 2005 from Baykonur (Kazakhstan) by the Russian Sojuz-Fregat rocket. In the beginning of April 2006 the spacecraft will be inserted in a polar orbit around Venus with pericenter of 250 km and apocentre of 66,000 km and a period of 24 hours. The planned mission duration is two Venus sidereal days (~500 Earth days) with possibility to extend the mission for two more Venus days.

The Venus Express aims at a global investigation of the Venus atmosphere and the plasma environment, and addresses some important aspects of the surface physics. The science goals comprise investigation of the atmospheric structure and composition, cloud layer and hazes, global circulation and radiative balance, plasma and escape processes, and surface properties. These topics will be addressed by seven instruments onboard the satellite: Analyzer of Space Plasma (ASPERA), Magnetometer (MAG), IR Fourier spectrometer (PFS), spectrometer for solar and stellar occultation (SPICAV), radio science experiment (VeRa), visible and IR imaging spectrometer (VIRTIS), and Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC). Scientific operations will include observations in pericentre, off-pericentre and apocentre sessions, limb scans, solar and stellar occultation, radio occultation, bi-static radar, and solar corona sounding.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.