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Sakigake Mission to Comets

Goals: Sakigake was to fly by Comet Halley as a practice mission for Japan, in preparation for the launch of Suisei, the country's primary mission to the comet.

Accomplishments: Sakigake flew by Comet Halley at a distance of about 7 million km. When ESA's Giotto spacecraft transmitted radio signals from within the comet's coma, Sakigake served as a reference vehicle, which permitted scientists to subtract the effects of Earth's atmosphere and ionosphere. The Japanese spacecraft also flew through and provided information about Earth's magnetic tail.

Key Dates
7 Jan 1985:  Launch (19:26 UT)
11 Mar 1986:  Comet Halley Flyby
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Sakigake Facts Sakigake was the first deep space mission launched by any country other than the United States and the Soviet Union.

The spacecraft was nearly identical to the Japanese Suisei spacecraft launched eight months later.

Sakigake means pioneer in Japanese.
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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2010