Venus Express in Soyuz rocket, cutaway artwork. This European Space Agency probe probe was launched in November 2005, on a three-stage Soyuz rocket, with a separate Fregat fourth stage (top). The Soyuz launched the probe to suborbital levels. The Fregat stage (yellow, below probe) made the transition to the Earth-Venus trajectory. Other space agencies and companies involved in the construction and launch include Arianespace, EADS, Starsem, and Roscosmos. Venus Express arrived at Venus in April 2006, and has been transmitting observations of its atmosphere. Its mission has been extended to the end of 2012.
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