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The Mission
Mission Team
Launch Vehicle
Mission Timeline
Mars Orbit Insertion
Entry, Descent and Landing
Science Operations
Extended Mission
Communications with Earth

There are six main phases for the Mars Express mission:

Phase Description Key Event(s) Key Dates
Launch Mars Express launched from the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan onboard a Soyuz Fregat Launcher. Launch: June 2, 2003
Cruise The journey to Mars took about seven months. Just before it arrived at Mars, the spacecraft jettisoned a lander called Beagle 2. 1st TCM
Near-Earth Verification
Interplanetary Cruise
2nd TCM
3rd TCM
Mars Approach
4th TCM
Lander Ejection
Final TCM
June 2, 2003
June 3-30, 2003
July 1 - Nov 22, 2003
July 12, 2003
Nov 4, 2003
Nov 22 - Dec 18, 2003
Dec 14, 2003
Dec 19, 2003
Dec 19, 2003
Mars Orbit Insertion This event marks the point in the mission when the spacecraft arrives just short of Mars, fires an onboard rocket to slow its speed relative to the planet, and is captured into a long looping orbit. Mars Orbit Insertion Dec 24, 2003
Entry, Descent, and Landing Beagle 2 was scheduled to land on the surface of Mars during this phase. Beagle-2 Landing Dec 24, 2003
Orbiter Science Operations The seven instruments on Mars Express are currently making observations as the spacecraft's polar orbit gradually moves around to give global coverage over the mission's expected lifetime of nearly two Earth years (one Martian year). MARSIS Antenna Deployment

Science Operations
May 4-15, 2005

May 16-Nov 30, 2005
Extended Mission Depending upon resources and spacecraft, Mars Express operations may continue for another Martian year.


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