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AKATSUKI (PLANET-C)

AKATSUKI (PLANET-C)

Mission Profile

Name (pre-launch in parentheses) AKATSUKI (PLANET-C)
International Designation Code 2010-020D
Objectives Venus is the closest planet to the earth and is known as the "morning star" or "evening star." Venus is sometimes referred to as Earth's sister planet because of its similarity to the Earth in size and mass, but its climate is very different. Venus has a massive CO2 atmosphere which is extremely hot due to the greenhouse effect and is covered by sulfuric acid clouds.
There is no liquid water on the surface of Venus. The elucidation of the climate system of Venus will provide us with clues to explain how such a diversity of planetary environments has evolved in the solar system.
The Venus Climate Orbiter (PLANET-C project) aims to unravel the mysteries of Venus with an emphasis on atmospheric dynamics. State-of-the-art optical instruments will enable us to explore the deep atmosphere and the ground surface below the thick cloud layer.
Launch Date 06:58, May 21, 2010 (JST)
Location Tanegashima Space Center (Minamitane-machi, Kagoshima prefecture)
Launch Vehicle H-IIA
Configuration Weight 500 kg (including fuel)
Shape Approx. 1.5m x 1.0m x 1.4m
5.1m long from end to end of solar array paddles


[Click image for enlargement]
Orbit Altitude 300km, 80,000km
Inclination 172°
Type of Orbit Elliptical around Venus
Period 30 hrs.
Scientific Instruments
  1. 1-µm camera (IR1)
  2. 2-µm camera (IR2)
  3. Longwave IR camera (LIR)
  4. Ultraviolet imager (UVI)
  5. Lightning and airglow camera (LAC)
  6. Ultra-stable oscillator (USO/Radio Science)