December 8th, 2010


Making orbit ... slowly

Japan's Akatsuki probe fails to enter Venus orbit.

Basically, it failed to slow down enough to go into orbit, and sailed on past.

On the other hand: "we may be able to try again when it passes by Venus six years from now", though given that the probe has a 4.5 year design life, that is a little optimistic.

It is, of course, now in a solar orbit that crosses Venus's orbit at ... I guess ... something of the order of 6 monthly intervals, so after a few orbits, it should indeed have another chance.