Japan’s Akatsuki probe fails to enter Venus orbit
Japan’s first space probe bound for Venus has failed to enter the planet’s orbit, the country’s space agency says.
The space craft, Akatsuki, is believed to have passed Venus after it failed to slow down sufficiently.
Akatsuki, launched about 200 days ago, fired its main engine just before 0000 GMT on Monday to allow the planet’s gravity to capture the probe.
A previous interplanetary space probe launched by Japan in 1998 to orbit Mars was also a failure.
Akatsuki briefly lost contact but was now back in communication and functioning normally as it headed off around the sun, officials said.
“Unfortunately, it did not attain an orbit,” said Hitoshi Soeno of the space agency, Jaxa.
“But it appears to be functioning and we may be able to try again when it passes by Venus six years from now.”