JAXA

Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui (Photo NASA)

A little while ago, cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. It was night when they landed and it was very cold so the crew that take care of assisting them was quicker than ever. They spent nearly five months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on July 23, 2015 as part of Expedition 44.

Artistic concept of the Akatsuki space probe orbiting Venus (Image courtesy JAXA. All rights reserved)

JAXA, the Japanese space agency, confirmed that its space probe Akatsuki has successfully accomplished the maneuvers to allow it to enter the orbit of the planet Venus. These maneuvers took place exactly five years after the failure of the first attempt. The orbit is significantly different from the one programmed for the mission and JAXA engineers are assessing it to schedule some additional maneuvers. However, there’s optimism about the possibility of carrying out the scientific mission Akatsuki was built for.

The International Space Station photographed by a space shuttle Atlantis crew member on May 23, 2010 (Photo NASA)

On November 2, 2000, the first three crew members reached the International Space Station to begin their work in what was then the new outpost of humanity. With that act, American astronaut Bill Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko established a continuous human presence there. Over the years, the Station has been expanded to take its current configuration developing wider and wider opportunities to do research that have brought and will bring various technological and scientific developments.

The Astro-E2, then renamed Suzaku, satellite during its test phase (Photo NASA)

In recent days, the Japanese Suzaku space observatory has been deactivated. On August 26, 2015, JAXA, the Japanese space agency, communicated the decision to terminate the mission of this satellite specialized in X-ray astronomy. Communications between the mission control center and Suzaku had become intermittent since June 1, 2015 and JAXA, after trying to restore them, decided to start the deactivation procedures.

The Japanese space cargo ship HTV-5 Kounotori captured by the International Space Station's robotic arm (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the HTV-5 “Kounotori” spacecraft was captured by the robotic arm Canadarm2 of the International Space Station, operated by Kimiya Yui assisted by Kjell Lindgren. The Japanese space cargo ship, which blasted off last Wednesday, is carrying food, water, scientific experiments, propellant and various hardware. After its capture, it will take a little while before the HTV-5 starts getting moved to its berthing location on the Harmony module.