Today in History: Japan launches spacecraft Sakigake

BY MATTHEW COLLINS - JANUARY 7, 2015

On the 7th of January 1985, Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) launched its very first interplanetary spacecraft, the Sakigake (MS-T5), becoming the first nation apart from the Soviet Union and United States to do so.

Its launch was initiated with the intended mission of observing Halley’s Comet, which passed through the solar system in 1986, by acting as a test vehicle for the mission.  

Sakigake (meaning “pioneer”) paved the way for her twin craft, Suisei (“comet”) which was launched in August that same year. Subsequently, both (alongside various other space probes) went on to observe the comet as it  passed through.

 

Image courtesy of: www.isas.ac.jp