Akatsuki with three instead five cameras after electrical fault

JAXA Akatsuki Venus Orbiter failed to keep its full operational status - two from five cameras are not longer working. In spite of this fact Akatsuki still operates after six years from  mission start in 2010, when it reached space on 20 May, 2010 on the top of the H-IIA rocket.

According to official statement given by JAXA on Friday, 3 March 2017, two cameras operating in infrared (IR1 and IR2) from total number of five were turned off after long and unfortunately not successful, process of recovery. Both cameras were designed to perform scientific observation of lower parts of atmosphere of Venus. They failed for the first time when in December 2016 electronic control system reported first problems with highest then usually currents and general malfunction. JAXA technicians and engineers failed to restart cameras and put them again into action, but still rest of the spacecraft remains in good health - it is quite surprising if we take under consideration that Akatsuki remains under destructive influence of radiation since 2010, but originally mission duration was planned only for two years.

Akatsuki prolonged journey to Venus started six months after launch. Space probe failed to perform orbital insertion maneuver due the premature engine cutoff. Switched to hibernation mode Akatsuki wait in space for another five years for second chance. Finally in December 2015, Akatsuki orbit again crossed Orbit of  Venus and this time maneuver was done perfectly in spite of lack of main thruster and utilizing only attitude control thrusters. Now after correction done already in March, remains on 400 km x 330 000 km highly elliptical orbit.

 

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