Memories of December 7Dec 7, 2019

Akatsuki was launched in May 2010 and arrived at Venus on December 7 that year. On the hopeful day, Akatsuki failed its first attempt of orbit insertion to become an orbiter around Venus, and started the journey around the Sun again. Over the next 5 years, all the people involved were in the depths of despair, and we clenched our teeth keeping our spacecraft safe. Akatsuki's second attempt of orbit insertion was successfully done on December 7, 2015. We and Akatsuki reached this December 7, 9.5 years after its launch and 4 years after its successful observations. Elucidation of the superrotation mechanism, the main scientific goal of Akatsuki project, would be achieved in the near future. We would like to continue operation of the spacecraft in future as we thank heaven for our very lucky spacecraft.

Masato Nakamura, Project manager