Japan space probe in second attempt to catch Venus orbit

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A Japanese probe took a second shot at entering the orbit of Venus on Monday, five years after it missed on the first attempt due to an engine failure.

“It is very much expected to enter the planned orbit” this time, Masato Nakamura, in charge of the programme at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA, was quoted as saying by Kyodo News Agency.

The Akatsuki, or Daybreak, fired its four booster rockets for about 20 minutes from 8:51 am (0151 GMT) to knock it into the right flight path, the report said.

Communications were normal after the firing, but data would not tell until Wednesday whether the spacecraft has successfully entered the planned 300,000-kilometre elliptical path around the second planet from the sun, the report said.

Orbiting the planet once every eight to nine days, the Akatsuki is planned to spend the next two years observing the thick clouds and strong winds of its atmosphere.

A first attempt to lock into the orbit Venus shortly after its launch in 2010 failed due to a malfunction of its main engine.

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