Join Donate

Emily LakdawallaDecember 6, 2010

Akatsuki enters orbit at Venus today!

In just a few hours, Venus will have a second orbiter. Japan's Akatsuki is due to start firing its orbit insertion engines on December 7 at 08:49 Japan time (which is today, December 6, 23:49 UTC / 15:49 PST). There has already been a successful trajectory correction maneuver today, lining the spacecraft up for orbit insertion. (EDIT: This was not correct; I misunderstood the Google translation. The last rocket firing was on December 1.) A timeline of today's plans is below. I edited it from a Google translation of this Japanese-language website, so any errors are mine.

Date/time (UTC)Time w.r.t. closest approachEvent
Dec 6 23:49:00 - 11m Orbit insertion burn begins
23:50:43 - 9m Ground station communication blackout expected
Dec 7 00:01:00 +1m End orbit insertion burn
00:12:03 +12m Communication should resume
00:36:37 +37m Enter into Venus' shadow
01:40:44 +1h 41m Exit from Venus' shadow
01:59:00 +2h Orient attitude to Earth for orbit determination
03:09:00 +3h Switch between medium-and high-gain antennas
12:00:00 +12h Orbit determination should be complete; decide if further course correction necessary

Via Twitter I've heard that there will be a live webcast (in Japanese of course) beginning at 23:00 UTC / 15:00 PST at this website.

Since the orbit insertion happens during after-school time for me, I am, sadly, not going to be able to follow it live, though I'll be monitoring Twitter when I can. I recommend following cosmos4u; you may also want to bookmark the Google translation of Akatsuki's own Twitter feed and the Google translation of the mission website. For any machine-translated websites, wherever you see the word "somehow," you should mentally replace it with "Akatsuki."

Venus Climate Orbiter Akatsuki (PLANET-C)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Venus Climate Orbiter Akatsuki (PLANET-C)

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

You are here:
Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla (2017, alternate)
Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

Comments & Sharing
MER
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

Support enables our dedicated journalists to research deeply and bring you original space exploration articles.

Donate