The Magellan mission was when the American Magellan took pictures of and collected information on Venus. The Magellan was the first orbiter spacecraft ever launched.
NASA Mission STS-30, also called the Magellan mission, was when the first orbiter spacecraft, Magellan, was launched from a space shuttle. The shuttle Atlantis was launched from Kennedy Space Center on May 4, 1989 , carrying the Magellan.
Magellan is named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who is credited with the first circumnavigation of the globe. Although the Magellan probe was not the first to orbit Venus, it did enter orbit around Venus on August 10, 1990 , and carried out an in-depth examination. Data from the Magellan mission indicate that the surface of Venus is mostly volcanic materials, such as lava plains, lava domes, lava channels, and volcanoes.
In the first phase, Magellan gathered high-quality images of 98 percent of Venus's surface after orbiting the planet several times. The next phase was to produce a gravity map of Venus by transmitting a constant radio signal to Earth as it orbited. When the spacecraft encountered higher than normal gravity, it sped up, causing a change in frequency of the radio signal. Magellan gathered enough data to clearly map out 95 percent of the gravity.
However, during a maneuver, Magellan became caught in the atmosphere and soon plunged toward Venus. Most of the spacecraft was instantly vaporized, and some parts may have crashed into the planet's surface.