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Venus Express set to launch this month.


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ESA's Venus Express spacecraft, Europe's first mission to our sister planet is currently planned for launch on 26 October 2005 at 04:43 UT.

Venus Express is a follow on from the Mars Express mission.  After a 153 day cruise to Venus the spacecraft will enter Venusian orbit in April 2006 where it will study the Venusian atmosphere and clouds in unprecedented detail and accuracy. 


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Some interesting comments from the project scientist, Håkan Svedhem:

Q: What most fascinates you about Venus?

Håkan: There are so many interesting questions about Venus. For example, why is the atmosphere rotating so fast around the planet while the planet itself is rotating so slowly? We believe that long ago the temperature was much less than now and that water was flowing on Venus, but how and when did it disappear?

The whole surface of Venus has not long ago (in geological terms) been completely changed by material from the interior streaming out through volcanoes and cracks in the crust. Is this process still active somewhere on the planet?

Perhaps the most fascinating question about Venus is that Venus was once quite similar to Earth, but now the two planets are very different. Why are they so different now and when did this change start?


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  • 2 weeks later...

Venus Express launch postponed several days

During the final preparations for the launch of the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft by a Soyuz-Fregat launcher, contamination was detected inside the launcher’s fairing.

Starsem and ESA have therefore decided to carry out additional checks, which will postpone the originally scheduled launch date of Wednesday, 26 October by several days.

A new launch date will be announced shortly. 


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