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AKATSUKI to Get a Second Chance at Venus in December

9 Feb 2015, 01:40 UTC
AKATSUKI to Get a Second Chance at Venus in December
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

If any of you remember this, back in Dec. 2010 Japan’s Venus Climate Orbiter spacecraft AKATSUKI (or Planet-C), after a five and a half month journey through space, failed to enter orbit around Venus due to a faulty thruster nozzle. It sailed right past the cloud-covered planet, going into orbit around the Sun. Fortunately, JAXA mission engineers […]

Illustration of AKATSUKI/Planet-C by Akihiro Ikeshita. (JAXA)
If any of you remember this, back in Dec. 2010 Japan’s Venus Climate Orbiter spacecraft AKATSUKI (or Planet-C), after a five and a half month journey through space, failed to enter orbit around Venus due to a faulty thruster nozzle. It sailed right past the cloud-covered planet, going into orbit around the Sun. Fortunately, JAXA mission engineers were able to determine the cause of the problem and come up with some work-arounds for a second attempt when the spacecraft is aligned with Venus later this year.

Image of Venus captured by Akatsuki two days after failing to enter orbit. (JAXA)
After some firings of AKATSUKI’s orbit maneuver engine (OME) it was determined that although that particular engine is no longer up to the task, the reactor control system (RCS) thruster should be able to get ...

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