Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology JPL HOME EARTH SOLAR SYSTEM STARS & GALAXIES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY BRING THE UNIVERSE TO YOU JPL Email News RSS Podcast Video
JPL Banner
Venus Flagship Mission Study
Magellan (Orbiter)
Artist Concept of Magellan Spacecraft

The Magellan spacecraft was launched on May 4, 1989, and arrived at Venus on August 10, 1990. Magellan's solid rocket motor placed it into a near-polar elliptical orbit around the planet. During the first 8-month mapping cycle around Venus, Magellan collected radar images of 84 percent of the planet's surface, with resolution 10 times better than that of the earlier Soviet Venera 15 and 16 missions. Altimetry and radiometry data also measured the surface topography and electrical characteristics. During the extended mission, two further mapping cycles from May 15, 1991 to September 14, 1992 brought mapping coverage to 98% of the planet, with a resolution of approximately 100 m. Further details on the mission can be found at:

Magellan Spacecraft prior to Launch