VEX-MAG - Venus Express Magnetometer

Venus Express (VEX) is the first mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) to Venus. It aims at a global investigation of the Venusian atmosphere and plasma environment and addresses several important aspects of the geology and surface physics. Its payload comprises seven scientific instruments with heritage from Mars Express and Rosetta. VEX-MAG is a space qualified magnetometer with two sensors to measure the magnetic field magnitude and direction.

Short Description

IWF Graz is one of the Principal Investigator institutes and participates in the mission by providing the fluxgate magnetometer VEX-MAG together with the TU Braunschweig and the Imperial College London.

VEX-MAG consists of two sensors, one electronics box (including sensor electronics, data processing unit, and power supply) and a one meter long boom made from carbon fibre. One sensor is located on the tip of the boom and the other one is mounted on the surface of the satellite. This configuration of two sensors allows the separation of spacecraft disturbances from the natural ambient magnetic field.

The flight model including the magnetometer boom was built in record time of less than two years. Among the many scientific objectives of the magnetic field observation, the definition of Venus’ plasma boundary and the study of the solar wind interaction with the Venusian atmosphere are of major interest. In addition, the magnetic field data provide important information to other instruments aboard Venus Express, for example the particle spectrometer ASPERA, for any combined studies of the Venus plasma environment.

Important mission dates are:

  • launch - 26 Oct. 2006;
  • VEX-MAG commissioning and boom deployment - 5 Nov. 2005,
  • arrival at Venus - April 2006;
  • duration of nominal mission - 500 Earth days.

Project Partners


Institut für Weltraumforschung (IWF), Austrian Academy of Sciences - Tielong Zhang


  • Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische Physik, Technical University Braunschweig - Karl-Heinz Glassmeier
  • Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London - André Balogh

Contact Address