Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

The weekly newsletter for Fed2
by ibgames

EARTHDATE: July 27, 2014

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by Hazed

Having recently celebrated the birthday of the Curiosity rover and the Cassini space probe, it’s time to look at another long-running spacecraft: The Venus Express. It’s still going strong after eight years.

Designed to orbit Venus 500 times, it’s now completed it’s 3,000th orbit. It’s dived into the Venusian atmosphere then climbed back out again, and has continued to report back to the European Space Agency.

On 15 May this year, Venus Express completed all of its science objectives. With its fuel reserves running low by the time it completed its 3,000th orbit in July, the mission controllers sent it into the atmosphere for one last experiment in aerobraking: using the planet’s atmosphere to slow it down. It’s been swooping lower and lower on each of its orbits, and has gone closer to the surface than any other probe for decades. The information it sends back allows the mission team to build up a profile of Venus’ atmospheric density by tracking the drag on the craft.

Now this experiment has been completed, Venus Express will slowly start to climb back out of the atmosphere, rising higher with each orbit. Then it will be left to rest until its orbit finally decays and leads it to crash into the planet at the end of this year.

Source: http://space.io9.com/venus-express-isnt-dead-yet-1607083367/+riamisra

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