Thursday, October 27, 2011

IKAROS Update... Yep— Japan’s trailblazing solar sail, which launched from the country's Tanegashima Space Center in late May of last year, is still going strong millions of miles out in deep space.


Result of IKAROS 'Reverse Spin Operation' (Press Release - October 18)

On Oct. 18, 2011 (Japan Standard Time), JAXA performed a "reverse spin operation" of the IKAROS. As a result of the jet thrust to shift IKAROS's spin direction to the reverse way for about 20 minutes from 7:20 a.m. on the 18th, the membrane successfully spun in the reverse course without being entangled. The IKAROS is in good shape after reversing its spin, and its spin rate at the time of completing this operation was -0.24 rpm.

We are currently evaluating if we will continue the mission. For assessing it more in detail, the following information must be acquired.

1) Attitude related data from the data recorder that accumulated information during the reverse spin.

2) Data necessary for predicting future attitude change.

We will announce the detailed evaluation results as soon as we complete data acquisition and analysis.

Source: JAXA

On June 15, 2010 (Japan Standard Time), a small separation camera was jettisoned from IKAROS to photograph the solar sail in its entirety.

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