Venus Express ready for lift-off

October 20, 2005

Paris, 19 Oct 2005

ESA's Venus Express spacecraft is to be launched on a Soyuz-Fregat launcher from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday 26 October at 06:43 CEST (04:43 GMT, 10:43 local time).

Venus Express is Europe's first mission to Venus, a place of many mysteries that scientists are still eager to solve. Principal among those mysteries is why a planet so similar to Earth in size, mass, and composition has evolved so differently over the course of the last 4600 million years.

ESA's ESOC establishment, the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, will control the mission and organise a launch event from 06:00 to 12:00.

A live televised transmission of the launch will bring images from Baikonur to broadcasters and the general public. ESA senior management and specialists will be on hand at ESOC and at other ESA establishments for explanations and interviews.

All live transmissions are carried free-to-air. For broadcasters, complete details of the various satellite feeds (on Eutelsat W2) are listed at

For the general public, a launch transmission via Astra 1G has again been organised, with all schedule and transmission details online at http:/// df

On the occasion of the launch of Venus Express, the Planetary Society has teamed up with ESA to invite youths and adults worldwide to enter a Venus Express Art Contest. The theme of the contest is 'Postcards from Venus'. Entrants are invited to imagine the surface of Venus from an above-ground perspective. The winner will be invited to follow the Venus Orbit Insertion event at ESA's control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, on 6 April 2006. More on the constest at http:/// s/

Media representatives wishing to follow the event at ESA/ESOC, or the retransmission at other ESA establishments, are requested to fill in the attached registration form and fax it back to the place of their choice.

For further information, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Division Tel: +33(0)

European Space Agency
http:/// ml
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