Venus Express Mission
Power Supply for main electronics &
Virtis-H/-M experiment

The Mission
Venus Express is ESA's first mission to Earth's nearest planetary neighbour, Venus.

Thanks to a set of state-of-the-art instruments for planetary investigations, Venus Express will dig into the secrets of the Venusian atmosphere. It will study its complex dynamics and chemistry, and the interactions between the atmosphere and the surface, which will give clues about surface’s characteristics. It will also study the interactions between the atmosphere and the interplanetary environment (solar wind) to better understand the evolution of the planet.

Venus Express was launchend on November 9th and is on its way to Venus. After a 153 day cruise the spacecraft will enter Venusian orbit in April 2006. There it will start its measurements and studies which include many "first time" experiments.

Venus Express firsts:

First global monitoring of composition of lower atmosphere in near-infrared transparency ‘windows’;

First coherent study of atmospheric temperature and dynamics at different levels of atmosphere, from surface up to ~200 km;

First measurements from orbit of global surface temperature distribution;

First study of middle and upper atmosphere dynamics from oxygen (atomic and molecular), and nitrogen oxide emissions;

First measurements of non-thermal atmospheric escape;

First coherent observations of Venus in spectral range from ultraviolet to thermal infrared;

First application of solar/stellar occultation* technique at Venus;

First use of 3D ion mass analyser, high-energy resolution electron spectrometer and energetic neutral atom imager;

First sounding of Venusian top-side ionospheric structure.

Venus Express Instruments

The Venus Express payload comprises a combination of spectrometers, spectro-imagers and imagers covering a wavelength range from ultraviolet to thermal infrared, a plasma analyser and a magnetometer. This set of instruments will be able to study the atmosphere, plasma environment and surface of Venus in great detail.

For Venus Express APCON designed and built the power supply VIRTIS-H/M for the VIRTIS instrument (Visible & Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer), used for spectrographic mapping of atmosphere and surface.

VIRTIS H/M is a completely redundant power supply including house keeping and command interface. It includes a full redundant 16bit serial command interface via ACTEL 1020 RH, redundant 12bit ADC with 16 channel analogue multiplexer and value measurement system for internal and external voltages and currents.


The APCON Power Supply VIRTIS-H/M provides the power for the main electronics and for the units of the Virtis-H and -M experiment at Venus Express.

Full redundant Power Supply including house keeping and command interface.

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Virtis-H/-M experiment

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"Die Venus im Visier..."