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Full Version: Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter
Unmanned > Inner Solar System and the Sun > Venus
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I thought it was time to start a separate thread on this mission, launching soon
some good medium-resolution images of the spacecraft are available on JAXA digital archives;mission=4066
Greg Hullender
Here's a link to the Akatski "Special Site," which, among other things, includes a countdown.

In the past, we've seen Japanese sites where the English content was sparse and very hard to read, but on this site, the English is excellent, although obviously not native. As a linguist and a Japanese speaker, I'm very impressed with whoever is doing it, and wish we had some way to encourage them. (Or to encourage their bosses.)

I had actually thought we should find a way to volunteer to help polish the English for JAXA -- it would be a great way to give something back -- but it's clear they don't need that for this project. Way to go!

March 18, 2010 Updated

AKATSUKI leaves for Tanegashima

The Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" left the Sagamihara Campus for the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) on the evening of March 17.

The AKATSUKI will be delivered to the TNSC on the 19th. It will undergo final launch preparations there.

Planet-C (Ataksuki or the Venus Climate Orbiter) getting ready to launch. Ataksuki will examine the planet Venus using infrared scanning, something that has not been done by an orbiting spacecraft. Launch will happen in on H-IIA in May 18, 2010.

Major Characteristics of AKATSUKI
Shape and Size Box shape with two wing-type solar array paddles
(1.04 meters x 1.45 meters x 1.4 meters)
Scheduled Orbit Type: Venus elliptical orbit
PeriVenus: 300 km
ApoVenus: about 80,000 km
Orbital Period: 30 hours
Orbital Inclination: 172 degrees
Scheduled Life 4.5 years after liftoff
Mass Mass at liftoff: about 500 kg
Power Generated Power in Venus Orbit: about 500 W (at the end of the mission)
Mission Equipment
for Scientific Observation Mission Equipment / Major Observation Target
- 1μm camera (IR1) / Low stratus, vapor, active volcanism
- 2μmcamera (IR2) / Low stratus, trace gasses, zodiacal light
- Long wave infrared camera (LIR) / Cloud-top temperature distribution
- Ultraviolet imager (UVI) / Cloud-top ultraviolet absorber, SO2
- Lightening and airglow camera: (LAC) / Lightening flash, high-stratus airglow emission
- Ultra-stable Oscillator (USO) / Atmospheric temperature structure

Paper models (1:30 scale) are accessible from the above link. Note that 2009, 2007 and 2001 versions are on this page. The paper size of the 2009 version is 7.49 inches x 10.81 inches (190.25 mm x 274.57 mm) - which is an odd size, I think.

The H-IIA launcher will also carry five piggyback satellites, including IKAROS - a solar sail test mission.

The IKAROS solar sail is set to join Akatsuki at Tanegashima Space Center around April 2, after leaving the Sagamihara campus on March 29...according to
IKAROS sounds really cool, is there any website to find more info on it?

Yay, solar sails!
IKAROS is now inside a clean room at the Tanegashima Space Center...according to its Twitter page

I used to translate the Tweet smile.gif
There haven't been any online updates about Akatsuki since...March 19, but the IKAROS solar sail is being transported to the Spacecraft and Fairing Assembly (SFA) Building at Tanegashima Space Center tomorrow. There, IKAROS will eventually be encapsulated by the payload fairing before being attached to the H-2A launch vehicle.

About 27 days and counting... smile.gif
Akatsuki and IKAROS are now mated together in the SFA.

If the Google translations aren't the epitome of sexual innuendo, I don't know what is.
Akatsuki and IKAROS ready for fairing encapsulation and attachment to H-2A rocket

Akatsuki has a Twitter page as well
Well, I had to update my long-neglected web page:

Active Interplanetary Probes at Any Given Time

The only reason I neglected it is because not a lot changed in last 10 months or so.

Paolo, when is your third book coming out? smile.gif
QUOTE (Mark6 @ May 3 2010, 05:27 PM) *
Paolo, when is your third book coming out? smile.gif

I think it will be in 2011. In fact, it probably will be expanded to cover 2010 as well. I have already written most of the section on Akatsuki
QUOTE (Mark6 @ May 3 2010, 04:27 PM) *
Well, I had to update my long-neglected web page:

Active Interplanetary Probes at Any Given Time

Pioneer 5 seems conspicuously absent.
QUOTE (tedstryk @ May 4 2010, 10:04 PM) *
Pioneer 5 seems conspicuously absent.

Odd. Somehow I missed it completely...

OK, will fix it!
I should add that your page is really cool - helps one visualize the continuity of exploration.
Akatsuki and IKAROS are now encapsulated in the H-2A rocket's payload fairing

Next up should be the move to the Vehicle Assembly Building so the payload could be mated with the H-2A itself
Done. I also fixed cruise/primary operations status of EPOXI (it was showing continuous "primary operations" from late 2007 on, which is not the case) and changed color for asteroid missions -- it was much too similar to the color for outer planet missions.

Keep my fingers crossed for successful launch of Akatsuki!
QUOTE (tedstryk @ May 5 2010, 02:55 AM) *
I should add that your page is really cool - helps one visualize the continuity of exploration.

Thank you - that was kind of the intent!
Better-quality pics of the encapsulation
Akatsuki and IKAROS are now onboard the H-2A rocket! The move to the Vehicle Assembly Building took place early this morning (May 9)
Better-quality photos of the VAB move are up

Note that the Akatsuki/Ikaros launch will be broadcast over the web, link available here :

Launch will be at 6:44:14 Japan time / 10:44:14 pm UK summer time / 5:44:14 pm U.S. Eastern time
Photos showing the H-2A rocket rolling out to the launch pad
A pre-dawn image of H-2A at Launch Pad 1
Ron Hobbs
I am watching the webcast. What a picturesque launch site.

Go Akatsuki!
Ron Hobbs
I don't understand Japanese, but it sure looks like the weather is a problem.
Ron Hobbs
Yep! The launch was just scrubbed.
Indeed, Scrub
Bummer, but not surprising; the weather really looks nasty.

I'm kind of surprised they took it down to the wire as far as they did, really; the scrub happened at T-5 min. How long is this Venus launch window, anyhow, a week or two?
Weather forecast to be bleak for pretty much this entire week. Akatsuki / IKAROS have till June 3 to get off the ground.
Read my mind, PB; I was just editing my post to ask about launch window length. smile.gif Thanks!
Glad they scrubbed it. Eli's exploding diaper would have caused me to miss it. Yes!!!!
The weather at Tanegashima probably won't be ideal for launch till May 25 (Tuesday). Darn.
NEW LAUNCH DATE SET: May 21 at 6:58:22 AM, Japan Time (May 20, 5:58:22 PM, EDT...or 21:58:22 UTC)
I'd rather see a scrubbed launch than a failed launch like OCO. That was painful, watching the reactions of the team when they lost communications.

Brings to mind a question. When was the last time weather actually caused a launch failure on a significant mission?
QUOTE (brellis @ May 18 2010, 05:38 PM) *
When was the last time weather actually caused a launch failure on a significant mission?

There's the Atlas/Centaur-67 launch. I can't think of a more recent directly weather-induced failure.
H-2A at the pad once more..
Congrats to JAXA for the successful launch of Akatsuki and IKAROS (plus those 4 smaller satellites)! smile.gif
Initial Operation Result of
the Venus Climate Orbiter 'AKATSUKI'

May 21, 2010 (JST)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) received the signal transmitted from the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" at the Uchinoura Space Center at 4:40 p.m. on May 21, 2010 (Japan Standard Time, JST), and confirmed that the scheduled sequence of events including the solar array paddle deployment and sun acquisition were successfully performed.

The AKATSUKI was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center at 6:58:22 a.m. on May 21, 2010 (JST)

The orbiter is currently in a healthy state.

We are preparing for the AKATSUKI injection into the Venus orbit in early December while checking functions of the onboard equipment and controlling the attitude and orbit.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch and tracking and control operations of the AKATSUKI.

The Operation Status of
the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator 'IKAROS'

May 22, 2010 (JST)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) acquired the signal transmitted from the IKAROS at the Usuda Deep Space Station and confirmed its solar power generation and stable posture, and established communications. We will turn on onboard devices one by one.
'First Light' images taken of Earth with Akatsuki's LIR, UVI and IR1 instruments
some updates on Unitec
IKAROS moves to Verification Experiment Phase

May 24, 2010 (JST)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) completed the initial
operation check of the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator "IKAROS,"
which was launched on May 21, 2010 (Japan Standard Time,) from the
Tanegashima Space Center.

We will take a few weeks to carry out the first verification
experiments, namely deployment of the solar sail and solar power
generation by thin film solar cells.

This page URL:
Latest UNITEC status update:

We haven't received the UNITEC-1 signal after 21 May 2010, 18:00 (UTC).
We very much appreciate if you send any reception or information for UNITEC-1.
4th rock from the sun
Here's a composite of the 3 first light images. I've added the LIR image as luminance (inverted) just for aesthetic effect.

Click to view attachment
QUOTE (4th rock from the sun @ May 26 2010, 11:47 AM) *
Here's a composite of the 3 first light images.

Love that, really beautiful picture. smile.gif
I'm reading elsewhere that radio contact has been lost with 3 of the 4 minisats...only Negai☆ is operating normally. That's unfortunate to hear.

IKAROS Update:

-IKAROS is 2,266,103 miles (3,646,160 km) from Earth as of today

-the spacecraft is currently spinning at 20 rpm...will increase to 25 rpm by tomorrow before the solar sail finally begins full deployment this week
New images taken by IKAROS...showing the four tip masses that are on each outer tip of the solar sail have successfully separated from the spacecraft smile.gif

As an FYI, three of those four tip masses contain many aluminum plates engraved with the names of 63,248 people. These names were submitted online as part of a public outreach effort by JAXA between December 2009 and March 22 of this year.
punkboi, it looks like we posted the same link in two separate topics
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