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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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Emily Lakdawalla

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Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

Akatsuki enters orbit at Venus today!

Emily Lakdawalla • 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.

Akatsuki captures goodbye shots of Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • May 22, 2010

Three of Akatsuki's six science instruments have now checked in as operating normally, producing lovely photos of the receding homeworld.

All's well on IKAROS and Shin-en

Emily Lakdawalla • 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.

Akatsuki, IKAROS, UNITEC-1, and your names are on their way to Venus

Emily Lakdawalla • 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.

Akatsuki and IKAROS to launch today

Emily Lakdawalla • May 20, 2010

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.

Akatsuki and IKAROS new launch date set

Emily Lakdawalla • 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.

Akatsuki and IKAROS launch scrubbed due to weather

Emily Lakdawalla • 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.

Akatsuki and IKAROS to launch today

Emily Lakdawalla • May 17, 2010

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.

Photos of your names on the IKAROS spacecraft

Emily Lakdawalla • May 14, 2010

IKAROS, Japan's solar sail, is nearly ready for launch, piggybacked behind the Venus orbiter Akatsuki.

Akatsuki and IKAROS getting ready for launch, with your names aboard

Emily Lakdawalla • 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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Emily Lakdwalla
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