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Japanese probe fails to enter Venus orbit
Posted: Wed, Dec 8, 2010, 6:14 AM ET (1114 GMT)
Akatsuki illustration (JAXA) A Japanese spacecraft has failed to enter orbit around Venus this week as planned, the Japanese space agency JAXA announced Wednesday. The Akatsuki spacecraft, launched in May, was scheduled to fire its thruster Tuesday to go into orbit around Venus, but communication was lost with the spacecraft and it was unclear if the spacecraft was in orbit and operational. JAXA announced Wednesday that Akatsuki failed to go into orbit, although the spacecraft did appear to be functioning. Officials said it would be possible to try the orbit insertion again in six years, when the spacecraft next approaches Venus.The spacecraft, Japan's first mission to Venus, is designed to study the planet's dense atmosphere.
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