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Venus Express Chemical Propulsion System - The Mars Express Legacy

Venus Express Chemical Propulsion System - The Mars Express Legacy

Publication date: 16 October 2004

Authors: Hunter, C.J.

Year: 2004

Copyright: ESA

In proceedings of the 4th International Spacecraft Propulsion Conference (ESA SP-555). 2-9 June, 2004, Chia Laguna (Cagliari), Sardinia, Italy. Editor: A.Wilson. Published on CDROM., p.88.1

ESA's ambition of inter-planetary exploration using a fast-track low cost industrial programme was well achieved with Mars Express. Reusing the platform architecture for the service module and specifically the Propulsion system enabled Venus Express to benefit from several lessons learnt from the Mars Express experience. Using all existing components qualified for previous programmes, many of them commercial telecommunication spacecraft programmes with components available from stock, an industrial organisation familiar from Mars Express was able to compress the schedule to make the November 2005 launch window a realistic target. While initial inspection of the CPS schematic indicates a modified Eurostar type architecture, - a similar system using some Eurostar components - would be a fairer description. The use of many parts of the system on arrival at the destination (Mars or Venus in this case) is a departure from the usual mode of operation, where many components are used during the initial few weeks of GTO or GEO. The system modifications over the basic Eurostar system have catered for this in terms of reliability contingencies by replacing components, or providing different levels of test capability or isolation in flight. This paper aims to provide an introduction to the system, address the evolution from Eurostar, and provide an initial assessment of the success of these modifications using the Mars Express experience, and how measures have been adopted specifically for Venus Express.

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