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No. 198 - Earth Occultation Season #7

No. 198 - Earth Occultation Season #7

Report for Period 23 August to 29 August 2009The Venus Express spacecraft and instruments performed nominally during this week. The seventh Earth occultation season is ongoing, with three observations carried out in this reporting period.

VeRa Earth occultation season #7
The mission's seventh season of Earth occultation experiments started on 16 July 2009 (DOY 197). These experiments effectively represent a sounding of the Venusian atmosphere and ionosphere. The measurements are made just before and after the spacecraft passes behind the disk of Venus as seen from Earth (occultation).

The occultation measurements are part of the Venus Express Radio Science Investigations (RSI) performed under the Venus Radio Science experiment (VeRa). For these investigations the VeRa team makes use of the radio links of the spacecraft's communications system. The spacecraft's High Gain Antenna is pointed toward the Earth before the approach to occultation and a dual signal is sent in the S-band and X-band. Just before and after the occultation, the transmitted radio signal passes through the ionosphere and atmosphere of Venus. The effect that this has on the received signal gives valuable information on the composition and characteristics of the atmosphere as a function of altitude.

The 35m ESA deep space antenna at New Norcia (NNO), Australia, was used for receiving the spacecraft's radio signals on ground.

The table below shows a chronology of the main activities:

MET
(Day)
Date DOY Main Activity
1384 23/08/09 235

Communications pass over Cebreros

1385 24/08/09 236

Communications pass over Cebreros

1386 25/08/09 237

Communications pass over Cebreros.
RSI occultation measurements with NNO

1387 26/08/09 238

Communications pass over Cebreros

1388 27/08/09 239

Communications pass over Cebreros

1389 28/08/09 240

Communications pass over Cebreros.
RSI occultation measurements with NNO

1390 29/08/09 241

Communications pass over Cebreros.
RSI occultation measurements with NNO

At the end of the last Cebreros pass in the reporting period (DOY 241) Venus Express was orbiting Venus at 197 million km from the Earth. The one-way signal travel time was 656 seconds.

Payload Activities

ASPERA
The instrument was regularly operated as part of the routine plan.

MAG
The instrument was regularly operated as part of the routine plan.

PFS
The instrument was not operated during the reporting period.

SPICAV
The instrument was regularly operated as part of the routine plan.

VeRA
RSI occultation measurements were performed on DOY 237, 240 and 241.

VIRTIS
VIRTIS-M was operated in the visual channels only.

VMC
The instrument was regularly operated as part of the routine plan.


Future Milestones

  • Atmospheric drag measurements: 12 to 17 October 2009
  • Superior conjunction: 29 December 2009 to 22 January 2010


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Legal disclaimer
This report is based on the ESOC mission operations report, MOR #198. Please see the copyright section of the legal disclaimer (bottom of this page) for terms of use.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
18-Oct-2019 09:37 UT

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