Venus Express nears its launch date

Oct 13, 2005

The European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft was attached to a Soyuz-Fregat upper-stage rocket this week in preparation for an Oct. 26 launch.

The composite unit of the launch vehicle adapter and the spacecraft, together called the "stack," was mechanically joined with the Fregat upper-stage rocket.

The ESA classified the procedure as hazardous since both the spacecraft and the Fregat upper-stage are already fully loaded with highly flammable and toxic propellant. Venus Express carries around 1,256 pounds of propellant and Fregat about 11,000 pounds.

Upcoming preparations include connection of the umbilical cables between Fregat and the LVA, through which the Venus Express spacecraft is powered and commanded while still on the ground.

The Venus Express follows the ESA's Mars Express mission. After liftoff from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, the 153-day trip to Venus will end in April next year when the spacecraft will be captured by Venusian gravity and swings into an orbit.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Europe postpones launch of first 'space plane'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Venus Express rises again

Jul 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to just 130 km from the planet's surface, ESA's Venus Express is about to embark on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of ...

Venus Express gets ready to take the plunge

May 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —After eight years in orbit, ESA's Venus Express has completed routine science observations and is preparing for a daring plunge into the planet's hostile atmosphere.

Surfing an alien atmosphere

Apr 21, 2010

Venus Express has completed an 'aerodrag' campaign that used its solar wings as sails to catch faint wisps of the planet's atmosphere. The test used the orbiter as an exquisitely accurate sensor to measure ...

Recommended for you

Asteroid 2014 SC324 zips by Earth Friday afternoon

5 hours ago

What a roller coaster week it's been. If partial eclipses and giant sunspots aren't your thing, how about a close flyby of an Earth-approaching asteroid?  2014 SC324 was discovered on September 30 this ...

Who owns space?

5 hours ago

The golden age of planetary exploration had voyagers navigating new sea routes to uncharted territory. These territories were then claimed in the name of the monarchs who had financed the expeditions. All ...

User comments : 0