The Planet-B probe to Mars was launched on Jul 3, 1998. The ISAS M-5 launch
vehicle took off from Kagoshima space center in Japan and placed
Planet-B in parking orbit. After lunar flybys, Planet-B will
be placed in solar orbit and reach Mars in Oct 1999. It carries
instruments to study the Martian ionosphere and plasma environment
from Mars orbit.
The M-V-3 launch vehicle took off from
Kagoshima Space Center; the third stage and payload entered a 146 x 417
km x 31.1 deg parking orbit. The KM-V1 kick (fourth) stage then fired to
place Nozomi in a 359 x 401491 km x 28.6 deg deep orbit, from which it
will make lunar and Earth gravity assist passes to increase its energy
for solar orbit insertion and the cruise to Mars. M-V-3 was the second
M-V launch (M-V-2, carrying the Lunar A probe, has been delayed).
Nozomi made six orbits in a 700 x 480000 km parking orbit before a lunar flyby on Sep 24, 1998
placed it in a large loop orbit with an apogee of at least 1.6 million
km, which it reached on about Nov 10 before falling back to its second lunar encounter on Dec 18.
Nozomi Mars probe made a lunar flyby at an altitude of 2809 km
on Dec 18, 1998 at 0734 UTC followed by a 1003 km Earth flyby on Dec 20 at
0810 UTC. The perigee burn resulted in an escape orbit with too little
velocity, and a correction burn on Dec 21 had to use much more fuel than
planned to adjust the trajectory.
Following its propulsion problems, ISAS' Nozomi probe will remain in
solar orbit until Dec 2003, entering Mars orbit four years late.
The Japanese Mars probe, Nozomi, flew past the planet on Dec 14, 2003 at a
height of 1000 km. Attempts to operate the spacecraft's main propulsion
system failed, and small thrusters were used to increase the flyby
distance by about 100 km to ensure a clean miss. The mission has now
been abandoned, and Nozomi will enter a new orbit around the Sun.