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Japan confident Nozomi will be fixed
Posted: Mon, Sep 23, 2002, 11:00 AM ET (1500 GMT)
Nozomi (ISAS) Officials with the Japanese space agency ISAS believe that the Mars-bound Nozomi spacecraft will soon return to normal operations, nearly six months after a solar storm damaged it, Astronomy.com reported this weekend. ISAS engineers believe that a massive coronal mass ejection from the Sun on April 21 caused one of Nozomi's power converters to shut down; this, in turn, caused the spacecraft’s propellant to freeze. Communications with Nozomi have been restored, however, and engineers plan to command the spacecraft to reorient itself when it flies past Earth later this month so that the propellant can melt, allowing the spacecraft to resume normal operations. Nozomi was launched in 1998 with plans to go into orbit around Mars in 1999, but a thruster firing en route used too much propellant, requiring ISAS to leave the spacecraft in solar orbit until the more favorable 2003 opportunity. Once there Nozomi will study the interaction between the solar wind and the planet.
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