No. 1 - Venus Express Launch Summary
Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP) Details
The Soyuz-Fregat lifted off right on-schedule at 03:33:34.454 UTC on 9 November 2005 carrying with it the Venus Express spacecraft on the start of its 5 month journey to our sister planet Venus.
The table below details the times at which the main launch events took place.
Mission Elapsed Time
|Solid Booster Separation|
|Third stage separation|
|Fregat upper stage first burn and entry into coast phase|
+1h 22m 00s
|Second Fregat burn (lasting just under 14 minutes) injecting composite into required escape trajectory|
+1h 36m 30s
|Separation of Venus Express from Fregat stage|
05:30:42 UTC (MET +1h 57m 08s)
ESA ground station in New Norcia (Western Australia) acquires the telemetry signal from Venus Express. The spacecraft status was as expected and the automatic separation sequence was seen to be in progress having already completed the pressurization of the propulsion system and the configuration of the thermal control.
05:30:42 - 06:11 UTC (MET +1h 57m 08s to +2h 38m)
The initial rate reduction and first Sun acquisition phase proceeded very smoothly, and this was followed by the deployment of the two solar array panels, which was completed at 05:49 UTC. Following second Sun acquisition the automatic separation sequence was completed 06:11 UTC.
06:09:29 UTC (MET +2h 35m 55s)
After determination of the spacecraft phasing and communication link maintenance the first telecommands were up-linked from the New Norcia station.
07:45 UTC, (MET +4h 13m)
The first star tracker switched on.
08:44 UTC (MET +5h 11m)
Initial spacecraft configuration was achieved as expected and the spacecraft entered SHM (Safe Hold Mode)
08:57 UTC, (MET +5h 24m)
Reaction wheels switched on.
10:00 UTC (MET +06h 27m)
Venus Express spacraft achieved Normal Mode indicating full 3 axis stabilised conditions and full control through ground operations.
10:07 UTC (MET +06h 34m)
The second star tracker switched on.
11:15 UTC (MET +07h 42m)
LEOP software patches removed/replaced and the spacecraft was fully configured for flight in Normal Mode.