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Japan to launch AKATSUKI, IKAROS on May 18

H-IIA F17 carrying AKATSUKI arrives at the launch pad. Photo : JAXA

TOKYO (BNS): Japan is all set to launch the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" and the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator "IKAROS" from the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.17 (H-IIA F17) on May 18th.

According to the Japanese space agency JAXA, the launch will take place from the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) at 6:15 AM (JST) and the live report of the H-IIA launch will be shown on the Internet from 6:15 a.m. (JST).

The H-IIA Launch Vehicle with the payloads onboard has arrived at the Launch Pad-1 of the space center on Monday.

AKATSUKI (PLANET-C) is the next planetary exploration project for the Martian orbiter NOZOMI. The main aim of this project is to elucidate the mysteries of the Venusian atmosphere.

IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) is Japan's solar powered spaceship which measures less than the thickness of a strand of human hair. It is designed to exploit the energy of the sunlight. The force generated by the sunlight will help propel the IKAROS, which also will be slathered with thin-film solar cells to help generate electricity.

It will be the world’s first solar powered sail craft employing both photon propulsion and thin film solar power generation during its interplanetary cruise.

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