Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) has confirmed that its Venus Climate Orbiter or Akatsuki has successfully entered the Venusian orbit, five years after its maiden flight to Venus failed on 6th December, 2010. The team henceforth has been monitoring Akatsuki before firing its thrusters in a second attempt to enter Venus’s orbit.
The $300 million Akatsuki mission launched by Jaxa in May 2010 was originally scheduled to enter Venus’s orbit on 6th December, 2010. However, the vehicle’s main engine shutdown during the crucial orbit insertion phase and Akatsuki went zooming off into the space. Thereafter, the vehicle orbited the sun before making a thrust into Venus, exactly five years after its first failed opportunity.
Akatsuki’s handlers will now test three of the probe’s six instruments to make sure they are in a working condition, the other three reportedly being in good condition. The Venus Climate Orbiter will study Venus’s clouds, weather and atmosphere for at least two years to understand how it became inhospitable to life.