Japanese Probe Akatsuki Enters Orbit around Venus in Second Attempt

Japanese Probe Akatsuki Enters Orbit around Venus in Second Attempt

Only lucky space agencies get second chance during space exploration, and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is one of them. The agency announced that its Akatsuki spacecraft has successfully entered orbit around the planet five years after missing a shot.

With the achievement, the JAXA probe has become the first to operate around the second planet from the sun. The uncrewed spacecraft safely fired its auxiliary reaction control system (RCS) thrusters on Sunday for about 20 minutes and 30 seconds to slow down the probe for the planet’s gravity to capture it.

The space agency’s probe has tried to enter orbit around Venus around five years ago, but that time, it failed. At that time, main engine of Akatsuki failed and the probe couldn’t accomplish its target. As per scientists, the agency had not designed the rocket to fire its secondary attitude control rocket jets after a long time.

Japan launched its Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter or Planet-C project in 2010 from the Tanegashima Space Center atop an H-IIA 202 rocket along with the IKAROS solar sail craft. The probe’s main aim was to examine atmosphere of Venus, so that scientists could know about its behavior.

After the failed first attempt, the space agency put Akatsuki in hibernations in order to save the mission. They made a plan to alter the probe’s trajectory and launch it again towards Venus. Their plan worked and the agency officials announced the burn went as planned early Monday.

Sanjay Limaye from the University of Wisconsin said, “It is in orbit”.


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