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No. 200 - Earth Occultation Season #7

No. 200 - Earth Occultation Season #7

Report for Period 6 September to 12 September 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
1398 06/09/09 249

Communications pass over Cebreros

1399 07/09/09 250

Communications pass over Cebreros.
RSI occultation measurements with NNO

1400 08/09/09 251

Communications pass over Cebreros

1401 09/09/09 252

Communications pass over Cebreros.
RSI occultation measurements with NNO

1402 10/09/09 253

Communications pass over Cebreros

1403 11/09/09 254

Communications pass over Cebreros.
RSI occultation measurements with NNO

1404 12/09/09 255

Shortened communications pass over Cebreros due to maintenance of the ground station

At the end of the last Cebreros pass in the reporting period (DOY 255) Venus Express was orbiting Venus at 208.6 million km from the Earth. The one-way signal travel time was 696 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 250, 252 and 254.

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 #200. Please see the copyright section of the legal disclaimer (bottom of this page) for terms of use.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
20-Oct-2019 23:35 UT

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