JAXA Considering Second Try at Akatsuki-Venus Rendezvous One Year Earlier than Planned

Artists concept of Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft at Venus. Credit: JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is now considering making a second attempt to insert the Akatsuki probe into Venus’ orbit one year earlier than originally planned, in five years instead of six. After a malfunctioning valve in the spacecraft’s fuel pressure system caused the engine to function abnormally, Akatsuki failed to enter Venus’ orbit on Dec. 7, 2010 as planned. JAXA had said the spacecraft’s orbit around the Sun would put it in position for another orbit insertion attempt in about six years. But because the spacecraft’s speed has slowed more than expected, the agency now says it may be possible to slowly decelerate Akatsuki even more and let Venus “catch up with it,” according to a report in the Mainichi Daily News. A quicker return to Venus is also advantageous in terms of the lifespan of the probe and its equipment. (…) Read the rest of JAXA Considering Second Try at Akatsuki-Venus Rendezvous One Year Earlier than Planned (201 words)

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