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Venus Express enters orbit
Posted: Tue, Apr 11, 2006, 6:24 PM ET (2224 GMT)
Venus Express illustration (ESA) Venus Express, ESA's first mission to the planet Venus, entered orbit around the cloud-enshrouded world Tuesday. The spacecraft, launched in November 2005, fired its main engine for 50 minutes started at 3:17 am EDT (0717 GMT), slowing the spacecraft by 4,00 km/h and allowing it to be captured into orbit by Venus. The spacecraft, currently in an elliptical orbit, will perform a series of maneuvers to move into its final polar orbit at an altitude of 66,000 km. Venus Express will spend two Venusian days (486 Earth days) studying the planet's dense atmosphere. Venus Express uses much of the same hardware as ESA's successful Mars Express, although with different instruments and other adaptations to accommodate studies of Venus.
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