The Magellan spacecraft's deployment from the shuttle Atlantis' cargo bay was captured by an astronaut with a hand-held camera pointed through the shuttle's aft flight deck windows. Deployment occurred in the early evening of May 4, 1989, after Atlantis had carried Magellan and its Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster rocket, into low Earth orbit. Once the shuttle was safely away from the spacecraft, the IUS ignited and placed Magellan on course for its 15-month journey to Venus.


Magellan gets a final boost from the second stage of the Inertial Upper Stage in this artist's depiction. This event occurred on May 4, 1989, and signified the beginning of the operational phase of the spacecraft. Magellan entered the orbit of Venus 15 months later on August 10, 1990.