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Friday, 10th December 2010
In General Japan News,

Japanese spacecraft misses planet

Spacecraft Akatsuki has failed to enter the orbit of Venus and will have to try again in six years' time.

According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the craft is fully working but is not able to turn around from its current position and therefore scientists will have to wait until the opportunity to enter the orbit of Venus in 2016.

"We have found that the orbiter was not injected into the planned orbit as a result of orbit estimation," said a statement from JAXA.

It added that the chance of a future successful attempt is "high" and scientists are already investigating the causes of the recent failure.

It had been hoped that the Akatsuki craft would be the first Japanese successful mission to orbit another planet.

JAXA was formed in 2003 when the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan and National Space Development Agency of Japan merged together.

Written by Susan Ballion.