Japan rocket on Venus job

Japan rocket on Venus job

Space duty: Japan’s H-2A rocket carrying Akatsuki, the country’s first Venus probe, lifts off from a launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Centre on Friday. APThe launch vehicle, the H-2A rocket, took off from the Tanegashima space centre in southern Japan on schedule at 6:58 am (local time), three days after its original launch was postponed by bad weather. Live footage on the website of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency showed the rocket disappear into the sky.

It carried with it the experimental “Ikaros” — an acronym for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun — designed to be propelled by the pressure of sunlight particles. Similar to an ocean yacht pushed by wind, the device has a square, ultra-thin and flexible sail, measuring 14 by 14 metres, that will be driven through space as it is pelted by solar particles.

The name of the spacecraft alludes to Icarus, the figure from Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun. The space yacht, however, is headed in the direction of Venus.

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