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By Marty McDowell/NASA

On January 7, 1985, the Japan launched Sakigake (the Japanese word for "pioneer"). This was the first deep space probe launched by Japan. Its mission was to measure the solar wind and magnetic field as it flew by Halley's Comet.

In August of 1985, the Suisei craft - which was identical except for instrumentation - was launched as Japan's second deep space probe.

In the time since its historic encounter with Comet Halley, Sakigake has made a number of flybys of Earth with the last occuring on July 3, 1995. The mission officially ended in 1998 when the craft ran out of fuel.

The mission was sponsored by the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science at the University of Tokyo.

Source: NASA.


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Space References (Books):
Dickinson, Terence. Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. Firefly Books, 1998.
Greene, Brian. Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. Vintage, 2000.
Hawking, Stephen. Illustrated Brief History of Time, Updated and Expanded Edition. Bantam, 1996.
Hawking, Stephen. Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe. New Millenium, 2002.
Hawking, Stephen. The Universe in a Nutshell. Bantam, 2001.
Kaku, Michio. Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the Tenth Dimension.
Kranz, Gene. Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond. Berkley Pub Group, 2001.
Sagan, Carl; Druyan, Ann. Comet, Revised Edition. Ballantine, 1997
Sagan, Carl. Cosmos, Reissue Edition. Ballantine, 1993
Sagan, Carl. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. Ballantine, 1997

Space References (Videos):
Cosmos. PBS, 2000.
Stephen Hawking's Universe. PBS, 1997.
Hyperspace. BBC, 2002.
Life Beyond Earth PBS, 1999.
The Planets
. BBC, 1999.
Understanding The Universe. A&E, 1996.



Sakigake spacecraft

Courtesy of NASA

Launched: January 7, 1985

Destination: Halley's Comet

Arrival: March 11, 1986

Return: N/A

Nation: Japan

Mission: Flyby of comet

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