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No. 1 - Venus Express Launch Summary

No. 1 - Venus Express Launch Summary

Report for period 9 November 2005, 03:33 - 15:30 UTCThe Venus Express spacecraft has been succesfully launched, solar panels deployed and is now in Nominal Mode. So far all systems are performing as expected and the first commands have been uplinked from mission control. By 18:00 UTC on 9 November the spacecraft will already be 140 000 km from Earth.

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


+1m 58s

Solid Booster Separation

+4m 14s

Fairing jettison

+8m 48s

Third stage separation

+9m 49s

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.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
22-Feb-2020 11:29 UT

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