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Emily LakdawallaMay 17, 2010

Akatsuki and IKAROS to launch today

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.

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

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
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