Venus Express Launch

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (grd.holtkamp@t-online.de)
Date: Mon Nov 07 2005 - 16:46:01 EST

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    Hi everyone,
    
    the European Venus Express spacecraft is scheduled for launch with a Soyus/
    Fregat rocket from Baikonur on 9-NOV-05 at 3:33 UTC. It will first be 
    injected into a coasting orbit of 200 km altitude and 52 deg inclination. 
    Then between 4:55 and 5:10 UTC the Fregat upper stage will be ingnited again 
    to inject Venus Express into its hyperbolic escape trajectory. 
    
    Unfortunately for SeeSatL the only time Venus Express could be observed 
    visually under dark skies during its low orbit phase would be over the Sahara 
    desert at about the time when the Fregat stage begins its second burn (and I 
    wouldn't expect a big SeeSatL crowd out there).
    
    The next time Venus Express could be observed visually (at least in theory) is 
    from about 9:00 UTC on out of New Zealand (and later from Australia). At that 
    time it is already some 80000 km or so out and probably down to mag 17 or so. 
    You would need an accurate state vector to find it (which I don't have at the 
    moment).
    
    So unless you are in Baikonur for the launch we'll have to be content with 
    watching the event on ESA television which will bring live coverage.
    
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
    
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