Mission information - EnVision
EnVision is ESA's next mission to Venus, and consists of an orbiter hosting five payloads and one experiment exploiting the spacecraft radio link.
The spacecraft will be a roughly rectangular three-axis stabilised satellite, weighing approximately 1.6 tonnes at launch (launch dry mass), measuring approx. 2 m x 2 m x 3 m in stowed configuration, with two deployable solar arrays.
Artist impression of EnVision spacecraft deployment. Copyright: European Space Agency / Paris Observatory / VR2Planets / Damia Bouic.
Launch, planetary transfer, and Venus orbit phases
The EnVision launch is scheduled for late 2031, with back-up dates in 2032 and 2033. The mission will launch with an Ariane 62 rocket into a High Elliptic Orbit (HEO) followed by an Earth Escape Manouver.
The interplanetary cruise phase will take around 15 months.
The Venus orbit insertion will be highly elliptic, and the final science orbit will be reached by means of Aerobraking. The Aerobraking phase will take around 16 months, and will be followed by a 2-months in-orbit commissioning phase prior to the science operation phase.
The EnVision science operation phase duration is 6 Venus cycles (about 4 Earth years).
Scetch of EnVision launch, inter-planetary transfer, Venus orbit launch insertion, aerobraking, and science orbit.
Science Data downlink
The science data downlink capability is ~200 Tbits using Ka-/X-band comms system with a >2.5 m diameter fixed high-gain antenna.
Science orbit and data coverage
The spacecraft orbit will be polar, with a duration of ~92 minutes and an inclination between 87o and 89o. The orbit will be elliptical, with spacecraft altitudes varying between ~220 and 510 km above the surface.
The slow rotation rate of Venus leads to a slow build-up of the observation coverage of the planet during the 6 Venus sideral days (~4 Earth years) mission duration. The orbit will drift during the science operations phase, which means that there is no orbit repeat cycle implemented.
Simulation of the measurement track of one of the EnVision payloads during half an orbit.