The Sakigake/Suisei missions to Halley’s Comet

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Abstract

Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronatical Science (ISAS) decided in 1979 to send a spacecraft to comet Halley. This decision was supported both by Japanese scientists who were anxious to carry out an interplanetary mission and by those institute engineers who wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of a new launch vehicle. Comet Halley was considered a scientifically meaningful target because it has never been explored previously from close-range, it displays a wide range of interesting phenomena, and it returns only every 76 yr.