Japan launches spacecraft to study Venus

Japan launches spacecraft to study Venus

Japan launched a new probe Friday on a two-year mission to study Venus, DPA reported.

A rocket carrying the Venus orbiter Akatsuki, meaning Dawn in Japanese, lifted off from the Kagoshima space centre in southern Japan, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.

"Akatsuki was lifted into orbit according to our plan, so it was perfect," Teruaki Kawai, chief of the aerospace business operations of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.

Mitsubishi built the H-IIA rocket carrying the probe, according to the specifications provided by the space agency.

Akatsuki is expected to reach Venus' orbit in December. It is to circle around the planet for two years to examine its climate.

Japan spent 25 billion yen (277 million dollars) on the development of the probe.

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