This is the second and final chance for the orbiter to reach Venus and to study the compelx weather pattern of the planet
A Japanese Spacecraft carried out another attempt to reach and orbit around Venus on Monday morning and this is their second and final chance after their first attempt went wrong five years ago.
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) sent a spacecraft in May 2010 to zoom around Venus and observe the planet’s atmosphere. But its main engine conked out and ever since it has been orbiting the Sun instead of the target. Now, JAXA is taking yet another shot and hoping to get things right this time around.
Early morning, JAXA confirmed that Venus Orbiter ‘Akatsuki’ is heading to correct altitude for orbital insertion. Then, spacecraft fired a set of four Reaction Control System thrusters and the burn lasted 20 minutes as scheduled.
“The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) performed the attitude control engine thrust operation of the Venus Climate Orbiter ‘AKATSUKI’ for its Venus orbit insertion from 8:51 a.m. on December 7 (Japan standard time),” JAXA issued a press release.
“As a result of analyzing data transmitted from the orbiter, we conformed that the thrust emission of the attitude control engine was conducted for about 20 minutes as scheduled.”
“The orbiter is now in good health. We are currently measuring and calculating its orbit after the operation. It will take few days to estimate the orbit, thus we will announce the operation result once it is determined.” Press release reads.
Whether burn worked properly or not, the news comes within few hours but it will take few days to know if spacecraft is in the orbit. JAXA is hoping that the latest firing of remaining four thrusters will slip the spacecraft into Venus orbit in eight to nine days. The observations will start around April while it will take approximately two years to collect meteorological information about the planet and studying its complex weather patterns.
However, the biggest challenge is that Akatsuki is much warmer than planned due to its extended trip around the Sun and it was not designed to withstand such longer exposure to cosmic radiations.
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Nevertheless, if succeeds, Akatsuki will the first spacecraft to study Venus since ESA’s Venus Express probe into planet’s atmosphere last year.