Venus probe may get 2nd chance soon
Tokyo (UPI) Jan 6, 2011
A Japanese space probe that failed to enter orbit around Venus may get a chance to redeem itself earlier than its controllers first thought, officials said.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency says it may be possible to make another attempt to send the Akatsuki spacecraft into orbit around Venus five years from now instead of six as previously believed, SPACE.com reported Thursday.
The $300 million Akatsuki spacecraft overshot Venus when its thrusters, meant to fire for 12 minutes in an orbital-insertion burn, shut down after just 2-1/2 minutes.
An unexpected pressure drop in the spacecraft's fuel line, or possibly damage to the probe's engine nozzle, are the likely causes, JAXA scientists say.
JAXA had said it would try again in six years, when Akatsuki approaches Venus once again, but now say it may be possible to decelerate Akatsuki slowly to let Venus catch up and try for an orbit in five years.
Akatsuki was meant to spend at least two years orbiting Venus, studying its clouds, atmosphere and weather.
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Japan probe shoots past Venus, may meet again in six years
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 8, 2010
A Japanese space probe has hurtled past Venus after failing to enter the planet's orbit as planned, the space agency said Wednesday, but it voiced hope for a successful rendezvous six years from now. The "Akatsuki", or "Dawn", blasted off in May on a 300-million-dollar mission to observe the toxic atmosphere and super-hot volcanic surface of Venus, which is sometimes called the Earth's siste ... read more
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