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No. 27 - Confirmation of Operational Orbit

No. 27 - Confirmation of Operational Orbit

Report for period 05 May to 13 May 2006 On 6 May 2006 at 13:30 Venus Express executed the last orbital manoeuvre to reach itsoperational orbit as planned at the pericenter passage 12 hours later. The achieved orbit is veryclose to the target reference orbit and is going to be maintained throughout the mission.

The remaining commissioning activities have been conducted according to the plan, with some activities rescheduling required. All the dedicated commissioning tests have now been concluded and the Case Commissioning phase is to start.

The table below shows a chronology of the main activities in the reporting period:

MET (Day) Date DOY Main Activity
178 05/05/06 125 SC Monitoring
179 06/05/06 126 VeRA Commissioning #2
180 07/05/06 127 Pericenter Control Manoeuvre #2 (3 ms-1)
VeRA Commissioning #2
181 08/05/06 128 VeRA Commissioning #3
182 09/05/06 129 SPICAV Pointing #3 (Inertial Limb)
183 10/05/06 130 SPICAV Pointing #5 (Sun Pointing - fixed)
184 11/05/06 131 SPICAV Pointing #5 (Sun Pointing - scan)
185 12/05/06 132 SPICAV Pointing #3 (repeat Inertial Limb)
SPICAV Pointing #4 (Solar occultation)
186 13/05/06 133 SC Monitoring and uplink Short Tem Planning 2

At the end of the last Cebreros pass in the reporting period (DOY 133, 14:00) Venus Express was orbiting Venus at 158 million km from the Earth. The one-way signal travel time was 527 seconds.

Spacecraft Status



Estimated ΔV

Estimated Duration

PCM #2



On 7 May 2006, at 13:31:11.7 UTC Venus Express had its 17th apocenter passage and entered its first operational orbit. The achieved orbit has the following deviations from the nominal one:

  • Period: + 0.3 seconds
  • Inclination: 0.04°
  • Apocenter: +1km
  • Pericenter: -1km

This orbit will be maintained with routine orbit control manoeuvres, typically scheduled every 50 days.

Payload Activities

The instrument is currently OFF.

The instrument is ON in Solar Wind mode and science data are regularly downlinked.

The instrument is currently OFF.

The instrument has been activated for dedicated observations (SPICAV Obs#3, #4, #5, and #6). Science data are being analysed by the PI team.

Dedicated New Norcia passes have been taken on DoY 125, 126, and 127 to complete the commissioning activities.

The instrument is currently OFF.

The instrument is currently OFF.

Ground Facilities

During the reporting period Venus Express has been successfully supported by daily passes with Cebreros. On DoY 129 and 130 shorter passes have been taken to allow preventive maintenance activities to be conducted in the station.

Future Milestones

The Venus Orbit Commissioning Phase enters now the phase where the routine mission planning and operations scheme is phased-in. This foresees a weekly short term planning cycle governed by the operations requests submitted by the Science Operations Centre. 

The first operational week is to start in Orbit#23 in the night between the 13 and 14 of May. Operations of the first week foresee the planning of the so called science cases which are the elementary science observations which will then compose the overall science activity plan. The 4200 commands required for the full week have been prepared during last week and the ones required to cover the first 4 days of operations are already on-board the spacecraft.

This first week of single observations will then be followed by two weeks where the single observations will be combined in a single orbit depending on the spacecraft thermal constraints. After 3 weeks of commissioning this scheme will be adopted as a standard to conduct the routine science phase which is to start on the 4th of June.

As from next reporting period this mission operations report will cover the period Sunday to Saturday to synchronise with the operational commanding period.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
8-Mar-2021 01:10 UT

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