25 December 2003
Mars Express enters orbit around the Red Planet - Contact awaited with Beagle 2 on the surface
This morning, after a journey lasting 205 days and covering 400 million km, the European Mars Express space probe fired its main engine at 03:47 CET for a 37-minute burn in order to enter an orbit around the Mars. This firing gave the probe a boost so that it could match the higher speed of the planet on its orbit around the Sun and be captured by its gravity field, quite like climbing in a spinning merry-go-round. This orbit insertion manoeuvre was a complete success.