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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Venus Express prepares for plunge into atmosphere

•, By David Szondy

The space agency says that the unmanned orbiters service life is coming to an end because its propellant is running low, so ESA is sending the probe to take a very close look at the Venusian atmosphere by flying straight through it.

Venus Express carries seven instruments for a full study of the ionosphere, atmosphere and surface of Venus. It was launched on November 9, 2005 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz–Fregat rocket and arrived at Venus on April 11 the next year, where it was placed in a 24-hour polar elliptical orbit that took it out to 66,000 km (41,000 mi) over the Venusian south pole and 250 km (155 mi) over the north pole.

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