The Ikaros DVD and the Akatsuki plate

Credit: JAXA

Location of plates on AKATSUKI and Aluminum plate image.
Credit: JAXA

IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency experimental spacecraft. The spacecraft was launched on 21 May 2010 from the Tanegashima Space Center aboard an H-IIA rocket, together with Akatsuki (the Venus Climate Orbiter) and four other small spacecraft.

IKAROS spun at 20-25 revolutions per minute and finished unfurling its sail on 11 June 2010. The craft contains two tiny ejectable cameras, DCAM1 and DCAM2. DCAM2 was used to visualise the sail after deployment on 14 July 2010. On 9 July, JAXA confirmed that IKAROS is being accelerated by its solar sail. IKAROS is the first spacecraft to successfully demonstrate solar-sail technology in interplanetary space.

The mission reached Venus on 7 December 2010 (JST) but failed to enter orbit around the planet. It had been intended to conduct scientific research for two or more years from an elliptical orbit ranging from 300 km to 80,000 km from Venus. Plans to re-enter a Venusian orbit on a future date are still being evaluated.

Both IKAROS and Akatsuki are carrying names and messages from Earth.

A silica glass DVD with more than 100,000 names was provided to JAXA by The Planetary Society. On April 25, 2010, engineers installed The Planetary Society's names DVD onto JAXA's IKAROS solar sailcraft.

The names and messages aboard the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" are printed in fine letters on an aluminum plate.


Date of Launch: 6:58:22 local time May 21, 2010(21:58:22 UTC May 20, 2010).

Status: wait and see...

IKAROS Participation Certificate


The Akatsuki Certificate: The Planetary Society version

The Akatsuki Certificate: The Japanese version