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JAXA to ignite Venus probe Akatsukiís engine


An artist's conception of Akatsuki spacecraft. A file photo

TOKYO (BNS): Nearly a year after it failed to enter Venus’s orbit, Japanese space probe Akatsuki would get some “push” by scientists to attempt the feat once more.

Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will try to ignite the engine of the spacecraft twice this month to check if it can enter the orbit around Venus.

The spacecraft, launched in May 2010, was to enter the planet’s orbit on December 8 that year.

However, it failed in the mission “due to overheating of its engine caused by a foreign substance stuck in the fuel valve,” the official Kyodo news agency said quoting JAXA.

The scientists are contemplating some means of sending fuel to the spacecraft’s engine without using the defective valve.

The first attempt of engine ignition will be made tomorrow when the engine would be ignited for two seconds to examine how far the probe has deviated from its due posture, and for 20 seconds on September 14, while preventing its further deviation by igniting a small posture control engine as well, JAXA said.

The space agency is also considering adjusting Akatsuki’s posture in November to pave the way for a renewed attempt to enter orbit around Venus in late 2015.

Not left with enough fuel to turn around, Akatsuki has now settled into an orbit near the Sun.

Tags:

JAXA  Akatsuki  Venus  

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