Mars Express booster rocket, artwork

Mars Express booster rocket, artwork

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Caption: Mars Express booster rocket, artwork. This European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft was launched on 2 June 2003. A Soyuz-FG rocket placed it and its Fregat booster (yellow tanks) in a parking orbit around the Earth. This Fregat booster is being used here, a few hours after launch, to place the spacecraft on its interplanetary trajectory to Mars (upper right). The solar panels were deployed after separation from the Fregat booster. Mars Express, the ESA's first Mars mission, arrived at Mars in December 2003. Since then, it has extensively mapped Mars, transmitting data back to Earth. The mission has since been extended to at least 2014.

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