Venus Express (VEX) was the first Venus exploration mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). Launched in November 2005, it arrived at Venus in April 2006 and began continuously sending back science data from its polar orbit around Venus. Equipped with seven scientific instruments, the main objective of the mission was the long term observation of the Venusian atmosphere. The observation over such long periods of time had never been done in previous missions to Venus, and was key to a better understanding of the atmospheric dynamics. ESA concluded the mission in December 2014.[5]

Quick facts: Mission type, Operator, COSPAR ID, SATCAT no....
Venus Express
Venus Express in orbit
Mission typeVenus orbiter
OperatorEuropean Space Agency
COSPAR ID2005-045A
SATCAT no.28901
Websitewww.esa.int/venus
Mission durationPlanned: 2 years
Final: 9 years, 2 months, 9 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerEADS Astrium
Launch mass1,270 kg (2,800 lb)[1]
Dry mass700 kg (1,543 lb)[1]
Payload mass93 kg (205 lb)[1]
Dimensions1.5 × 1.8 × 1.4 m (4.9 × 5.9 × 4.6 ft)[1]
Power1,100 watts[1]
Start of mission
Launch date9 November 2005, 03:33:34 (2005-11-09UTC03:33:34) UTC
RocketSoyuz-FG/Fregat
Launch siteBaikonur 31/6
ContractorStarsem
End of mission
DisposalDeorbited
Last contact18 January 2015, 15:01:55 (2015-01-18UTC15:01:56) UTC[2]
Decay dateJanuary / February 2015
Orbital parameters
Reference systemCytherocentric
Pericytherion altitude460 km (290 mi)[3]
Apocytherion altitude63,000 km (39,000 mi)[3]
Inclination90 degrees[4]
Period24 hours[4]
Venus orbiter
Orbital insertion11 April 2006

ESA Solar System insignia for the Venus Express mission  
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