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Saved Japanese Probe Gets Final Chance to Orbit Venus

In December 2010, Japan’s Venus Climate Orbiter spacecraft “AKATSUKI” (aka Planet-C), after five and a half months traveling through space, failed to enter orbit around Venus due to a faulty thruster nozzle. Lacking the ability to reduce its velocity AKATSUKI sailed right past the cloud-covered planet, eventually entering orbit around the sun. Shortly afterward JAXA mission engineers were able to determine the cause of the problem and develop work-arounds for a second attempt at orbit insertion.

Now, five years later, that second — and final — chance will arrive on Monday, Dec. 7.

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