Thursday, August 18, 2016
Japan launches Suisei spacecraft for Halley's Comet flyby 1985
Japan launched its second deep space probe, Suisei (formerly know as Planet-A) August 18, 1985 to study Halley's Comet on March 8, 1986. It was part of the "Halley Armada" with Soviet and French probes, the European Space Agency and NASA. The first probe, Sakigake, was launched in January of 1985. Suisei carried an ultra-violet based imaging system to study the hydrogen corona around Halley's Comet and instruments to measure solar wind.
Japanese scientists planned to send Suisei to encounter Giacobini-Zinner in November 1998, but its hydrazine fuel was depleted February 22, 1991.
Suisei (Japanese for Comet) was developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, which is now part of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.