He finally received his eight-year mission Venus Express of the ESA, which lasted well beyond the design. As announced by the European Space Agency, the ship exhausted its fuel in a series of maneuvers to rise to a higher trajectory.
Since arriving on Venus in 2006, the Venus Express has been on an elliptical orbit for 24 hours, traveling 66.000 kilometers above the South Pole to the farthest point and 200 kilometers above the North Pole to the nearest approach, conducting an in-depth analysis of the planet. and its atmosphere. However, after eight years in orbit and running out of fuel, the ship undertook in mid-2014 a daring "mission" of air braking, during which it sank deeper and deeper into the atmosphere, getting very close to the planet.
Under normal circumstances, the ship would use its engines to ensure that it did not come too close to Venus, risking getting lost in the atmosphere. But this action had exactly the opposite goal: to reduce the altitude and to explore previously uncharted zones in the atmosphere. Also, in the context of this mission, significant experience is gained for future missions, as this method (air braking) can be used to enter the orbit of planets with atmosphere without requiring a large use of fuel.
Between May and June of 2014, the lowest point on board the track reached 130-135 kilometers. Then the boat was raised again, so 26 July was again at a height of 460 kilometers. Then the mission continued in a reduced scientific phase, as the boat began to "sink" again due to gravity. A new series of maneuvers was decided to regain height, as there were still fuels, with the aim of the mission to last as 2015.
However, contact with the boat was lost on November 28. Since then telemetry and remote control links have come back in part, but they are very unstable. As Patrick Martin, the mission manager for Venus Express, said, the boat exhausted its fuel almost in the middle of planned maneuvers, resulting in loss of height control due to push problems.