Magellan tests aerobraking at Venus

MagellanTo increase the accuracy of its gravity map of the planet Venus, NASA’s unmanned space probe Magellan conducts the first experimental aerobraking maneuvers to alter the shape its orbit to a near-circular shape. By dipping Magellan into the upper layers of the Venusian atmosphere, the spacecraft is slowed and its orbit is changed, but it is kept far enough from the denser lower layers of the atmosphere to avoid re-entry. Aerobraking will become more commonly used by future space probes at the planet Mars.