Akatsuki and IKAROS to launch today
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla
17-05-2010 11:59 CDT
Just a programming note, a reminder that Japan plans to launch the Venus orbiter Akatsuki and the solar sail IKAROS today at 21:45 UTC. I plan to be watching their webcast, which is supposed to begin at 21:15 UTC. I will probably not post anything here in real time; for as-they-happen updates, watch my Twitter page. I'll do a wrapup post here after the launch (or scrub, if that happens).
Here's a photo of the rocket, ready to go; it was taken yesterday, a little more than a day before the planned launch time. The countdown is now proceeding on schedule. The first and second rocket stages are (as of a couple of hours ago) fully loaded with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, and the radio system checks are complete.