by Emily Lakdawalla
Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!
• December 06, 2010
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.
• May 22, 2010
Three of Akatsuki's six science instruments have now checked in as operating normally, producing lovely photos of the receding homeworld.
• May 21, 2010
Today JAXA posted a very brief mission status update on the IKAROS spacecraft, launched yesterday along with Akatsuki. Brief is good; all's well.
• May 20, 2010
It was a picture-perfect launch for three Venus-bound spacecraft this morning: the Akatsuki Venus orbiter, the IKAROS solar sail, and a university-built minisat named UNITEC-1.
This is mostly a repost from Monday: Just a programming note, a reminder that Japan plans to launch the Venus orbiter Akatsuki and the solar sail IKAROS today at 21:58:22 UTC.
• May 18, 2010
According to the Akatsuki Twitter feed, the next try for launch of Akatsuki and IKAROS will be Thursday, May 20, at 21:58:22 UTC.
• May 17, 2010
The countdown for the planned launch of Akatsuki and IKAROS got to about four minutes before they decided to cancel the attempt due to weather, and I can't blame them.
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.
• May 14, 2010
IKAROS, Japan's solar sail, is nearly ready for launch, piggybacked behind the Venus orbiter Akatsuki.
• May 07, 2010
I've been so focused on the dramatic return of "Mr. Hayabusa" that I've neglected to write much about two up-and-coming Japanese missions: Akatsuki and IKAROS.
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