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Akatsuki Mission to Venus

Mission Type: Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: H-IIA
Launch Site: Tanegashima Space Center, Kagoshima, Japan
Spacecraft Mass: 480 kg at launch
Spacecraft Instruments: 1) Infrared Camera 1
2) Infrared Camera 2
3) Longwave IR camera
4) Ultraviolet imager
5) Lightning and airglow camera
6) Ultra-stable oscillator (Radio Science)
Spacecraft Power: Solar panels and batteries
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Akatsuki website,

The Venus Climate Orbiter mission (PLANET-C), will study the atmospheric circulation of Venus. Meteorological information will be obtained by globally mapping clouds and minor constituents successively with four cameras at ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, detecting lightning with a high-speed imager, and observing the vertical structure of the atmosphere with radio science techniques.

The equatorial elongated orbit with westward revolution matches the Venusian atmosphere, which rotates westward. The systematic, continuous imaging observations will provide us with an unprecedented large dataset of the Venusian atmospheric dynamics. Additional targets of the mission are the exploration of the ground surface and the observation of zodiacal light. The mission will complement the European Space Agency's (ESA) Venus Express, already in orbit at Venus.

Key Dates
21 May 2010:  Launch
Status: In Review
Fast Facts
Akatsuki Facts Akatsuki means dawn in Japanese. The mission team chose the name because Venus shines brightly in the dawn.

The spacecraft's is also known as Planet-C.

The mission was designed to compliment data sent back by Europe's Venus Express orbiter.
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Last Updated: 24 Jan 2011