COSPAR ID 1985-001A
SATCAT № 15464
138.1 kilograms (304 lb)
Start of mission
January 7, 1985, 19:27
End of mission
November 15, 1995
Beacon: January 8, 1999
Apohelion 1.15 astronomical units
Inclination 0.07 degrees
Period 382.8 days
March 11, 1986, 04:18 UTC
6,990,000 kilometres (4,340,000 mi)
Sakigake—translating to "pioneer" or " Pathfinder", known before launch as MS-T5—was Japan's first interplanetary spacecraft, and the first deep space probe to be launched by any country other than the USA or the Soviet Union. It aimed to demonstrate the performance of the new launch vehicle, test the schemes of the first escape from the Earth gravitation for Japan on engineering basis, and observe space plasma and magnetic field in interplanetary space. Sakigake was also supposed to get references for scientists. Early measurements would be used to improve the mission of the Suisei probe several months later.
Sakigake was developed by the
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science for the National Space Development Agency (both of which are now part of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA). It became a part of the Halley Armada together with Suisei, the Soviet/ French Vega probes, the ESA Giotto and the NASA International Cometary Explorer, to explore Halley's Comet during its 1986 sojourn through the inner solar system.
Unlike its twin
Suisei, it carried no imaging instruments in its instrument payload.
Sakigake was launched January 7, 1985 from
Kagoshima Space Center by M-3SII-1 launch vehicle.
Halley encounter [ edit ]
It carried out a flyby of Halley's Comet on March 11, 1986 at a distance of
6.99 million km.
Giacobini-Zinner encounter [ edit ]
There were plans for the
spacecraft to go on to an encounter with 21P/Giacobini-Zinner in 1998 but they had to be abandoned due to lack of propellant.
End of mission [ edit ]
Telemetry contact was lost on 15 November 1995, though a beacon signal continued to be received until 7 January 1999.
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References [ edit ]
External links [ edit ]