AKATSUKI’s second shot at Venus

Akatsuki at VenusJAXA, the Japanese space agency, announces its plans to put the unmanned AKATSUKI space probe into orbit around Venus. Originally launched in 2010, AKATSUKI failed to orbit the planet in December of that year due to a critical engine malfunction and instead fell into an orbit around the sun, but mission planners have devised a strategy to use its attitude control engines to slow it enough to be captured around Venus when it intersects the planet’s orbit again. AKATSUKI, more formally known as the Venus Climate Orbiter, is intended to study the atmosphere and weather of Venus, a mission it will begin in December if it can successfully enter orbit.