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Organization JAXA
Mission type Orbiter
Satellite of Venus
Orbital insertion date December 2010
Launch date May 2010
Launch vehicle H-IIA
Home page PLANET-C page
Mass 320 kg (710 lb)
Power 1200W
Orbital elements
Inclination near equatorial
Apoapsis 60,000 to 80,000 km (37,000 to 50,000 mi)

Akatsuki (あかつき ?, meaning dawn), formerly known as PLANET-C and Venus Climate Orbiter (VCO), is a planned Japanese unmanned spacecraft to explore Venus. It is currently planned for launch in May 2010, with arrival in December 2010 for a mission of two years or more. With the end of the M-5 program in 2006, Planet-C will be launched by the H-IIA (type 202).



The total mass of the spacecraft will be 640 kilograms (1,400 lb), including 320 kg (710 lb) of propellants and 34 kg (75 lb) of scientific instruments.

The main bus is a 1.6 m x 1.6 m x 1.25 m box with two solar arrays, each with an area of 1.4 square meters. The solar array panels provide over 1200 W of power in Venus orbit.

Propulsion is provided by the 500 N bi-propellant (hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide) orbital maneuvering engine and 12 mono-propellant (hydrazine) reaction control thrusters, eight with 23 N thrust and four with 3 N.


The scientific payload consists of the Ultraviolet Imager (UVI), the Longwave Infrared Camera (LIR), the 1-μm Camera (IR1), the 2-μm Camera (IR2), and the Radio Science (RS) experiment.


Planned investigations include surface imaging with an infrared camera and experiments designed to confirm the presence of lightning and determine the existence or otherwise of current surface volcanism.

The budget for this mission is 13 billion Japanese yen (110 million US dollars) for the satellite and 12 billion yen (100 million US dollars) for the launch.


During 2007 the thermal and mechanical models were evaluated. Critical design review was done between Nov. 2007 and March 2008. Currently the flight model is being manufactured.[1]

There is also an ongoing event held by the Planetary society, which allows individuals to send their name and a message aboard AKATSUKI. The deadline is 8 January and messages will be printed in fine letters on an aluminum plate and placed aboard AKATSUKI. [2]


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