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Mars Express in orbit around Mars
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- Title Mars Express in orbit around Mars
- Released 11/04/2003 3:49 pm
- Copyright ESA - Illustration by Medialab
Mars Express left Earth for Mars on a six-month journey in June 2003, when the positions of the two planets made for the shortest possible route, a condition that occurs once every twenty-six months. The intrepid spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan onboard a Russian Soyuz/Fregat launcher. It completed the interplanetary cruise, achieving a velocity of 10 800 km/h relative to Earth, in December 2003. Since entering its operational, near-polar orbit, Mars Express has operated perfectly, delivering some of the most spectacular and scientifically valuable results ever received from the Red Planet.