Venus Express took a plunge into the Venus atmosphere
17 July 2014 - Daring aerobraking operations of the Venus Express (VEX) probe were undertaken by ESA to gain new insights about usually inaccessible regions of the planet’s atmosphere and about how the spacecraft and its components respond to such a hostile environment.
The campaign also provides the opportunity to develop and practise the critical operation techniques required for aerobraking, an experience that will be precious for the preparation of future planetary missions. After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to only 130 km above the planet’s surface, Venus Express now embarked on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km.
The Planetary Aeronomy team at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy is responsible for the analysis of the data recorded by the SOIR instrument onboard VEX. The team was following with great interest and in suspense the development of the operations and the state of the satellite.
Read more on the Venus Express aerobraking.
Activities 50th anniversary of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)
Space weather forecasts in support of the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign
After eight years in orbit, ESA’s Venus Express has completed routine science observations and has recently started to descend into the planet’s atmosphere.
The SSCC (SSA Space Weather Coordination Centre) is providing support to the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign.
Complete articleSpace Weather Forecasts Venus Express
The eruption of Kelut
21 February 2014 - The Kelut eruption on the island of Java has produced a large ash and SO2 cloud that has been tracked by polar orbiting satellite instruments (IASI and GOME-2 onboard MetOp-A and MetOp-B, OMI on Aura, and AIRS on Aqua).
The ash has reached high altitudes where commercial aircraft fly and is a significant hazard to aviation. Three airports on Java have been closed and air routes from Australia to Singapore, Bangkok and beyond affected.
Wake up, Rosetta! The comet chaser and the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
If everything goes according to plan, the comet chaser Rosetta will wake up from hibernation the 20th of January 2014, and start the last phase of its 10-year journey to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The Rosetta space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) will for the first time study a comet up close during its journey around the Sun. The Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BISA) has helped to build the ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis) instrument on board of the satellite.