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JAXA successfully ignites Venus probe’s engine


An artist's conception of Akatsuki spacecraft orbiting Venus. A JAXA Photo

TOKYO (BNS): Japanese space agency JAXA has successfully conducted the engine ignition manoeuvre for its Akatsuki spacecraft on Wednesday.

The spacecraft’s main engine was ignited for about two seconds as planned by the scientists, the space agency said Thursday. Signals transmitted back to the agency by the probe at around noon confirmed that the test was successful, it said.

The test was implemented to check the state of the engine, the Kyodo news agency said quoting JAXA.

The test was conducted in an attempt to send the space probe around Venus’ orbit in 2015. A similar test will be conducted next week when the engine boost would happen for 20 seconds.

Japan had launched Akatsuki in May 2010 on a two-year mission to explore Venus. The spacecraft was to enter the planet’s orbit on December 8, but failed in the attempt due to an engine-related problem.

JAXA scientists will analyse how far the probe has deviated from its due posture during the ignition at the time of the December failure, while checking into the possibility of correcting its posture by igniting a small attitude control engine, the space agency said.

The spacecraft is presently settled in an orbit near the Sun.

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JAXA  Akatsuki  Venus  

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