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Venus Express: ending mission and starting of data exploration

While the Venus Express mission ended last December, Venus, has yet to reveal all its secrets...

It will take years of analysing the data collected by Venus Express, a project primed by Airbus Defence and Space, to fully understand the planet’s atmosphere, extending from the surface to the ionosphere.

The mission was supposed to last two Venus days (486 Earth days) excluding travel time, but was extended three times. The initial aim was to study Venus’s atmosphere, its chemical composition, thermodynamic parameters (pressure, density, temperatures) and the atmospheric movements.

Venus Express has indisputably delivered on its promises. In the words of Josian (Airbus DS’s Development and Sales Manager for Earth Observation Satellite Systems for Latin America), "This impressive mission is a credit to all those involved at Airbus Defence and Space and their subcontractors who delivered total customer satisfaction to ESA." On the ESA website, the Head of ESA’s Science Operations Department, Martin Kessler, states, "While we are sad that this mission is ended, we are nevertheless happy to reflect on the great success of Venus Express as part of ESA’s planetary science programme and are confident that its data will remain an important legacy for quite some time to come."

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