Magellan Spacecraft


NASA Magellan spacecraft was a Planet Venus orbiter. It was as a high resolution radar mapping mission. It is also referred to as the Venus Radar Mapper. The Magellan Spacecraft was named after the famous 16th century Portuguese Explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521).

Magellan Spacecraft Picture

History and Achievements:

Magellan was carried into earth orbit by the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-30) on May 4, 1989. The Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) was used to launch Magellan on an interplanetary trajectory to Planet Venus.

The Magellan Spacecraft took 15 months to reach Venus. It was inserted in orbit around Venus on August 10, 1990.

Magellan spacecraft radar mapped Venus’s surface from 1990 to 1994. Magellan carried radar instruments which penetrated Venus’s thick atmosphere in order to map it. Volcanic lava flows, quake faults and other features on the surface were seen for the first time.

Nasa ended Magellan’s mission on October 12, 1994 by allowing it to crash through the Venus atmosphere. Magellan was the first planetary spacecraft to have been intentionally crashed.

Did you know?

The Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) uses solid rocket fuel.

Magellan was the first interplanetary spacecraft to be launched by the Space shuttle.

Related Books
Atlas of Venus by Peter Cattermole (Author), Patrick Moore (Author) 


Venus Revealed: A New Look Below the Clouds of Our Mysterious Twin Planet by David Harry Grinspoon

Venus (Space Science Series) by Donald M. Hunten

Venus II: Geology, Geophysics, Atmosphere, and Solar Wind Environment (Space Science Series) by  D. M. Hunten

Magellan and the Radar Mapping of Venus (Missions in Space) by Gregory Vogt

Venus: Second Planet (1994)


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