A Second Chance to Visit Venus

(Phenomena::No Place Like Home) – Nadia Drake:

In space exploration, second chances are rare. Yet a few days ago, a Japanese spacecraft called Akatsuki fired its thrusters to rendezvous with Venus.

This isn’t the first time Akatsuki has attempted to orbit Earth’s twisted sister – that happened five years ago to the day, in December 2010. Back then, though, something went horribly wrong. Instead of putting on the brakes and pulling into orbit, Akatsuki zoomed past Venus without stopping. Engineers would later determine that a valve in the spacecraft’s propulsion system had cracked, rendering the main engine useless. But the team didn’t give up, and instead decided to let Akatsuki try again…even though it meant waiting half a decade. …


Akatsuki at Venus


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