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Japan at Venus: Photos from the Akatsuki Spacecraft's Mission

Japanese Spacecraft Deploys Solar Sail

JAXA

A camera captures the second stage of solar sail deployment on the Japanese Ikaros mission. Four thin tethers that mechanically connect the solar sail membrane with the main body can be seen extending downward on both left and right sides of the image, while a harness that provides the electrical connection extends from the center to the lower left.

Japan's Ikaros Solar Sail in Space

JAXA

The world's first solar sail to fly in deep space, Japan's Ikaros, is seen in this self-portrait view taken on June 14, 2010, after sail deployment.

Japan's Ikaros Solar Sail in Space

JAXA

The world's first solar sail to fly in deep space, Japan's Ikaros, is seen in this self-portrait view taken on June 14, 2010, after sail deployment.

Japan's Ikaros Solar Sail at Venus

JAXA

This photo shows Japan's Ikaros solar sail as it sailed by the planet Venus (which appears as the crescent at upper right) on Dec. 8, 2010. The Ikaros solar sail was about 80,000 kilometers from Venus during the flyby.

Japan's Ikaros Solar Sail in Space

JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Ikaros solar sail is seen in deep space after its deployment on June 14, 2010, in this view taken from a small camera ejected by the sail.

Japan Launches New Venus Probe and Solar Sail

JAXA

Japan's Venus Climate Orbiter Akatsuki and the Ikaros solar sail launch into space atop an unmanned H-2A rocket on May 20 (U.S. Eastern Time) from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. It was early morning Friday, May 21 at the Japanese launch site.

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