Feeds

Contamination delays Venus Express launch

No new date from ESA yet

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Mission managers at the European Space Agency have postponed the launch of Venus Express, Europe's first mission to our so-called twin planet. The new launch date has not been announced, but ESA says it will be "several days" late.

The launch was due to take place atop a Soyuz-Fregat launcher this Wednesday (26 October), but during final preparations for the launch, insulation from the rocket launcher was found to have contaminated the satellite, ESA said.

The contamination could have come either from the fairings, which protect the satellite during the launch, or from the upper booster stage of the rocket, the BBC reports.

A spokesperson told the BBC: "The satellite is contaminated, so they will have to dismantle and re-mount it."

If its launch is successful, and its journey to Venus uneventful, Venus Express will slot into a polar orbit around our sister planet some time next spring. The satellite is set to gather data on the Venusian atmosphere so scientists can work out how the conditions on the planet arose.

Although Venus is very similar to Earth in size, its environment could hardly be more different. It has an incredibly thick and acidic atmosphere causing crushing pressures of around 100 Earth atmospheres at the surface, and an ambient temperature of nearly 500C. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.