EADS Astrium was the ESA´s prime contractor for the design and development of `Venus Express´, the first European spacecraft to visit planet Venus. Venus Express was launched from a Soyuz/Fregat rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in November 2005. After a five-month journey, it arrived in April 2006 at its destination orbit around Venus. The mission around Venus was designed to last two Venusian days (486 Earth days) - due to the planet’s slow rotation, a day on Venus is in fact longer than a year. This successful mission was granted an extension until 31 December 2012.
© EADS 2013