What is Launch?
Launch gives the
spacecraft the velocity it needs to escape Earth's gravity and set course
Most of the power needed to propel Mars Express from Earth to Mars is
provided by the four stage Soyuz
Fregat launcher which separated from the spacecraft
after placing it on a Mars-bound trajectory. [More details in
the Launch Vehicle section]
What happens during Launch?
Here's what happened during launch:
- The four side
boosters and the core (first) stage ignite at the same time before
lift off, and the lateral boosters shut down and separate first.
- After the first stage
has used all its fuel, it separates and the second stage continues to burn.
- The main engine
on the fourth stage, the Fregat, is ignited twice. The first ignition puts
the Fregat into a circular orbit after separation from Soyuz. The second,
a few hours later, injects Mars Express into its interplanetary