Venus Express at Venus, artwork. This European Space Agency (ESA) probe, the first ESA mission to Venus, was launched in November 2005. It arrived at Venus in April 2006. It has since been orbiting the planet, using its seven science instruments and its antenna (dish-shaped) to record and transmit observations of the Venusian atmosphere back to Earth. Power is provided by the solar panels (blue). The main engine nozzle (bottom) was used for orbital insertion. Four smaller thrusters are used for orbit adjustments. The Venus Express mission has been extended several times, most recently to the end of 2012.
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