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Mars Express in orbit around Mars
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- Title Mars Express in orbit around Mars
- Released 02/10/2003 3:49 pm
- Copyright ESA - Illustration by Medialab
Mars Express will left Earth for Mars 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 started its six-month journey from the
Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan onboard a Russian Soyuz/Fregat launcher.
Mars Express began the six-month interplanetary
cruise at a velocity of 10 800 km/h relative to Earth. Five
days before arrival in December 2003, Mars Express will
eject the Beagle 2 lander, which will make its own way to
the correct landing site on the surface. The orbiter will then
manoeuvre into a highly elliptical capture orbit, from which
it can move into its operational near-polar orbit.