content 19-November-2017 09:16:42

Launch Phase

The Venus Express spacecraft was launched on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 03:33:34 UT on 9 November 2005.

The three-stage Soyuz launcher lifted the Fregat autonomous upper stage (fourth stage) with Venus Express mounted on it into a sub-orbital trajectory.

After separation from the Soyuz third stage, a Fregat main engine burn (at an altitude of about 200 kilometres) for around 20 seconds placed the Fregat-Venus Express composite into an almost circular parking orbit. After a coast phase of about 70 minutes in the low Earth orbit, a second Fregat engine burn, lasting 16 minutes, moved the combined craft from the parking orbit onto an escape trajectory, after which the Fregat stage and Venus Express separated.

MET Event
-08h 28m 00s Spacecraft pre-launch configuration check completed, start of launch configuration
-05h 00m 00s Spacecraft to external power & in launch mode
Systems checks begin on Fregat upper stage
-04h 24m 00s Spacecraft readiness for LV fueling
-03h 49m 00s Start of LV fueling
-01h 30m 00s End of LV fueling
-44m 00s Removal of service platform
-10m 00s Spacecraft to internal power
-02m 35s Pressurization of propellant tanks
-02m 00s Umbilical drop-off
- 45s Transfer to on-board power supply
- 20s Ignition of booster and core engines at intermediate thrust level
Launch at 03:33:34 UTC 9 November 2005
+00m 08s End of vertical ascent
+01m 58s First stage boosters separate
+04m 14s Soyuz fairing jettison
+04m 46s Second stage cut-off
+05m 18s Soyuz second stage separation
+08m 45s Third stage cut-off
+08m 49s Soyuz third stage separation
+09m 49s Start of first Fregat burn
+10m 09s End of first Fregat burn
+1h 20m 00s Start of second Fregat burn
+1h 36m 00s End of second Fregat burn
+1h 36m 30s Spacecraft separation - start of automatic activities
+1h 58m 00s First opportunity for signal acquisition at New Norcia
+2h 00m 00s First Sun acquisition
+2h 08m 00s Solar Array Deployment
+2h 38m 00s End of automatic sequence - spacecraft operated from ground control
+2h 58m 00s Initial spacecraft configuration
+8h 56m 30s Spacecraft configured in normal mode
+27h 05m 00s Trajectory Correction calibration
+36h 31m 00s Switch to high gain antenna 2
+51h 01m 00s Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM-1)
+59h 27m 00s End of Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) operations and start of Near Earth Commissioning Phase (NECP)

 

The different stages of the launch and transfer phase

After separation, Venus Express spent approximately 150 days in an interplanetary transfer orbit. During this phase, trajectory corrections were performed using the spacecraft's own thrusters.

 


Last Update: 11 April 2006

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