May 4, 1989

  Image of the Magellan spacecraft

The Magellan spacecraft launches on a mission to Venus. It is the first planetary spacecraft to be launched from the Space Shuttle.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the United States and the Soviet Union sent orbiters to Venus that used imaging radar to pierce the veil of swirling clouds and map the planet's surface. Magellan is a follow-on to those missions, dramatically improving on their mapping resolution.

See also: Magellan home page

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