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Emily LakdawallaMay 21, 2010

All's well on IKAROS and Shin-en

Today JAXA posted a very brief mission status update on the IKAROS spacecraft, launched yesterday along with Akatsuki. Brief is good; all's well. Here's the report:

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) acquired the signal transmitted from the IKAROS at the Usuda Deep Space Station and confirmed its solar power generation and stable posture, and established communications. We will turn on onboard devices one by one.

Meanwhile, UNITEC-1, the third spacecraft launched with Akatsuki and IKAROS toward Venus has a new name: Shin-en, which, according to Junya Terazono, means "abyss." That's a terrific name for the first student-built spacecraft to be headed to deep space. Here's the Google translation of their update:

UNITEC-1, announced the successful launch and a nickname!(2010/5/21)

21 today, finally UNITEC-1, nicknamed "peas Shin" is traveled into space!

Pray for a safe journey ahead."

Peas Shin" -- Google choked on the translation, as it often does with proper names of spacecraft (Akatsuki, for instance, often becomes "Somehow" in Google translation, and then there's Hayabusa, which is typically rendered as "It is quick, the ぶ"). So, if you're wandering around a Google translated page about Shin-en and you see "Peas Shin," just do the proper translation in your head!

Read more: IKAROS, mission status, Akatsuki (Planet-C)

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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