Und CENAP ist mit dabei wenn Hayabusa-2 zum Asteroiden fliegt
Erste Bewährungsprobe auf japanischem Boden
Der Asteroidenlander MASCOT soll Anfang des nächsten Jahres an die japanische Raumfahrtagentur JAXA ausgeliefert werden, um ihn in die Trägersonde Hayabusa-2 zu integrieren und für den Start Ende 2014 vorzubereiten. Bis dahin ist es noch ein langer Weg, dennoch bleibt wenig Zeit!
Die erste Bewährungsprobe auf japanischem Boden hat die kleine Box vom DLR nun aber erfolgreich gemeistert. Die erste große Hayabusa-2-Testkampagne, der Initial Integration Test (kurz "IIT"), wurde von Anfang März 2013 bis Ende Mai 2013 bei der japanischen Raumfahrtagentur JAXA auf dem Campus des Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) in Sagamihara, Japan, durchgeführt. Bei dieser Kampagne wird das Spacecraft zum ersten Mal komplett mit allen Subsystemen zusammengesetzt und deren Kommunikationstüchtigkeit über die Schnittstellen des Satellitenbusses untersucht.
Ross Findlay (DLR Liaison Officer bei der JAXA) und Nawarat Termtanasombat (OBC und Softwareexpertin) beim ersten Kommunikationstest
Das erste MASCOT-Engineering Model oder auch IIT-Modell, wie wir es bezeichnen, sieht noch nicht gerade wie ein richtiges Spacecraft aus. Die Kunststoffwände sind durchsichtig und ähneln eher einer Schaubox für eine Ausstellung. Die wissenschaftlichen Instrumente sind durch Massendummies aus Aluminium ersetzt, und die elektrischen Kabel hängen lose und ungeordnet im Inneren herum. Auch die äusseren Platinen, die die Sensorköpfe der Nutzlast (Payload) simulieren, erinnern eher an "MacGyver".
Anpassung der thermischen Isolation von MASCOT im Reinraum
Wenn man lediglich diese Box vor sich auf dem Tisch stehen hat, kommt nicht unbedingt das Gefühl auf, dass dieses Element in ein paar Jahren auf einem fernen Asteroiden landen soll, um von dort die ersten wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse direkt von der Oberfläche zurück zur Erde zu senden. Doch das einfache Design hat einen Grund! Die IIT-Kampagne verlief parallel zu den in Bremen stattfindenden Tests, die das aktuelle MASCOT-Model auf seine mechanischen und thermischen Eigenschaften untersuchen. Aus diesem Grund musste ein eigenständiges und lediglich auf den Zweck angepasstes Model für den IIT entworfen und bestückt werden. So war es möglich, in einem knappen Zeitfenster zu bleiben und gleichfalls kosteneffizient diese Kampagne zu bestreiten.
Das MASCOT-Engineering Model mit durchsichtigen Kunstoffwänden
Doch auch wenn unscheinbar von außen, im Inneren steckt doch mehr als das Auge vermutet. On-Board-Computer, Stromverteilung, Antennen und Kommunikationsmodule geben dem IIT-Model die Möglichkeit, mit Hayabusa-2 zu kommunizieren und Daten auszutauschen. Diese funktionalen Tests wurden während der IIT-Kampagne gleich mehrmals durchgeführt, und auch wenn noch nicht alle Telemetrie Daten vollständig empfangen wurden, waren diese ersten Verbindungsversuche mit der Muttersonde und dem japanischen Kommunikationssystem im Allgemeinen sehr erfolgreich. Die gesammelten Daten wurden zur weiteren Analyse zum Kontrollzentrum nach Köln (MUSC) weitergeleitet. Dieses übernimmt während des späteren Fluges auch die Steuerung von MASCOT.
Erfolgreiche Erstintegration von MASCOT an der japanischen Muttersonde Hayabusa-2
Ein weiterer Meilenstein war die Erstintegration von MASCOT in seinen vorbestimmten Platz an der Trägersonde Hayabusa-2. Beim ersten Versuch im März hatten sich noch Probleme bei der Passgenauigkeit der thermischen Isolation (MLI) gezeigt. Diese wurden aber noch innerhalb der Kampagne durch eine kleine Designänderung behoben und die Verifikation der Passgenauigkeit sowie alle anderen mechanischen Schnittstellen konnte bestätigt werden!
Space cannon' to be fired into asteroid
Japanese craft to fire "space cannon" into asteroid in search for origins of the universe
Japan's space agency has successfully test-fired a "space cannon" designed to launch a projectile into an asteroid as part of the search for the origins of the universe.
The device will be aboard the Hayabusa-2 space probe that is scheduled to take off in 2014 and rendezvous with an asteroid identified as 1999JU3 that orbits between Earth and Mars in 2018.
Once in position close to the asteroid, the space cannon will detach itself and remotely fire a 4lb metal projectile into the surface of the miniature planet.
"An artificial crater that can be created by the device is expected to be a small one, a few meters in diameter, but ... by acquiring samples from the surface that is exposed by the collision, we can get fresh samples that are less weathered by the space environment or heat," the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said in a statement.
The mother craft will then land close to the crater and user a small rover to collect samples that would have otherwise been below the surface of the asteroid and return to Earth in late 2020. In all, JAXA scientists say the craft will shadow the 2,950-foot-diameter asteroid for around 18 months.
The project has "the potential to revolutionise our understanding of pristine materials essential to understanding the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life," JAXA said.
"It can provide important information needed to develop strategies to protect the Earth from potential hazards," the agency added. "Moreover, robotic sampling missions to primitive bodies will be pathfinders for ... human missions that might use asteroid resources to facilitate human exploration and the development of space."
Hayabusa-2 is the second project to recover particles from deep space and will build on the success of Hayabusa, which in 2010 gathered surface dust from an asteroid and returned to Earth.
MASCOT - Start zum Asteroiden 1999 JU 3
Im Dezember 2014 hebt die japanische Sonde Hayabusa 2 zu ihrer Mission ins All ab - mit an Bord: der Lander MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout), der auf dem Asteroiden 1999 JU 3 aufsetzen und mit vier Instrumenten an mehreren Stellen Messungen vornehmen wird. Dabei richtet er sich selbstständig auf und bewegt sich mit Hilfe eines Schwungrads hüpfend fort. Bei der Mission kooperiert das DLR mit der japanischen Raumfahrtagentur JAXA und baut so seine Zusammenarbeit mit dem internationalen Partner aus. Den Lander hat das DLR in Kooperation mit der französischen Raumfahrtagentur CNES und der japanischen Raumfahrtagentur JAXA entwickelt, als Instrumente steuert das DLR eine Weitwinkelkamera und ein Radiometer bei. Um MASCOT für die Mission vorzubereiten, führten die Ingenieure zahlreiche Tests durch. Unter anderem wurde der Auslösemechanismus des Landers in der Schwerelosigkeit eines Fallturms erprobt und seine Struktur in Vibrations- und Thermaltests untersucht. Nach den letzten abschließenden Tests wird der Lander im Frühjahr 2014 an die japanische Raumfahrtagentur geliefert. Überwacht wird der Lander während der Mission aus dem DLR-Kontrollzentrum des Nutzerzentrums für Weltraumexperimente (MUSC).
New probe Hayabusa 2 revealed in quest to collect more asteroid samples
The new asteroid probe Hayabusa 2 on display in Sagamihara’s Chuo Ward in Kanagawa Prefecture on Aug. 31 (Hikaru Uchida)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) unveiled Aug. 31 a new space probe that is expected to be launched later this year on a mission to an asteroid to help unravel the mystery of how life began in our solar system.
Developed at a cost of about 28.9 billion yen ($280 million), the Hayabusa 2 will collect rock samples from 1999 JU3, a nearly spherical asteroid about 900 meters in diameter with an orbit that brings it close to the Earth and Mars.
“(The Hayabusa 2 project) will be a touchstone mission in our endeavor to explore space,” said Hitoshi Kuninaka, a JAXA official handling the project.
At 1.6 meters by 1 and 1.25 meters tall, the Hayabusa 2 is almost the same size as its predecessor, Hayabusa, which in 2010 became the world’s first spacecraft to return to Earth with samples from an asteroid named Itokawa.
When its solar panels are spread, the new 600-kilogram spacecraft has a width of 6 meters.
Unlike Itokawa, 1999 JU3 is a type of asteroid that has more carbon components. This means the samples taken from it may contain organic substances and minerals with water that could provide clues to the origins of life.
The Hayabusa 2 will be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima in Kagoshima Prefecture. It is expected to return to Earth in 2020.
Quelle: The Asahi Shimbun
Japan to launch space probe Hayabusa2 on Nov. 30
Japan will launch its Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer into space on an H-2A rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan on Nov. 30, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Tuesday.
The liftoff is set for 1:24 p.m.
The asteroid explorer is a successor probe to Hayabusa, which returned to Earth in June 2010 after its unprecedented collection of asteroid surface samples.
In seeking to clarify the origin of the solar system, Hayabusa2 will target an asteroid named "1999 JU3," which comes close to Earth's orbit, and is about 900 meters in size and deemed to have rocks containing organic matter and water.
The roughly 600-kilogram space probe is expected to reach the asteroid in 2018 and return to Earth in 2020.
"It serves to enhance our international presence to conduct challenging space exploration by making use of our nation's scientific and technological power," said Hakubun Shimomura, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, at a news conference.
The H-2A rocket will be launched by contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Also included in the payloads are three small satellites, including one developed by the Kyushu Institute of Technology.
Quelle: Kyodo News International
Launch of "Hayabusa2" by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26
September 30, 2014 (JST)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) decided to launch the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) with the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" onboard in the following schedule.
To capitalize on the excess launch capability of the H-IIA F26, we will also provide launch and orbit injection opportunities for three small secondary payloads (piggyback payloads).
Scheduled date of Launch November 30 (Sunday), 2014 (Japan Standard Time)
Launch time 1:24:48 p.m. (Japan Standard Time) (*1)
Launch site Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center
*1: Launch time will be set for each launch day if the launch is delayed.
New voyager to travel deep into space! Hayabusa2 to be launched on Nov. 30
The launch date and time for the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) with the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" onboard was decided to be at 1:24:48 p.m. on November 30 (Sunday), 2014 (Japan Standard Time)*.
Launch site is Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center.
* Launch time will be set for each launch day if the launch is delayed.
Onslaught of tourists expected for launch of Hayabusa 2 space probe
Accommodations, transportation and other tourism-related services have rapidly sold out in and around Tanegashima island ahead of the Nov. 30 launch of the Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe there.
The Tanegashima Tourism Association said it expects a record-tying 4,000 people to visit the island in Kagoshima Prefecture when the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launches the probe aboard the H-2A Launch Vehicle No. 26 from the Tanegashima Space Center.
The Hayabusa 2’s mission is to travel around 5 billion kilometers over six years to acquire asteroid samples.
Observation points on Tanegashima are expected to be packed when the rocket blasts off. Many people have made plans to view the launch from neighboring Yakushima island. And at least one person intends to view the event from above.
The tourism association said it has received 10 times more inquiries than usual for services on the launch date.
Reservations for buses connecting the ferry terminal and Hase Park, one of the observation points, became fully booked within 15 minutes, an official said.
On Oct. 29, a company that operates high-speed boats connecting Tanegashima with Kagoshima and elsewhere started accepting reservations at 8:30 a.m. for rides on Nov. 29. Calls immediately flooded in. Many others made reservations online. Those reserving seats on the boats said they wanted to arrive at the island on the day before the launch.
“I cannot tell how fast tickets sold out,” a clerk at the reservation desk said.
The company decided to put more boats in service.
Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. offers a day trip in which tourists can view the event from a facility 3 km north of the launch site. It is also selling a two-day plan in which tourists will stay on Yakushima island.
The slots have almost been fully booked, the company said.
Kenichi Sasagawa, an employee at eco-tourism operator Yakushima Outdoor Guide Shimayui, plans to take climbers to the top of Mount Tachudake on Yakushima to watch the launch 40 km across the sea.
Masaharu Terada, a 52-year-old public employee in Osaka Prefecture, plans to go even higher. He decided to view the liftoff from the sky, checked flights, and found one leaving the Okinawa prefectural capital of Naha at 12:40 p.m. on Nov. 30 bound for Fukuoka.
If his flight and the launch go as scheduled, he should be above the sea 30 km west of Tanegashima at launch time.
Terada said he will be in Tokyo on business until Nov. 29 and is expected to work on Dec. 1.
“I want to see the launch then and there,” Terada said. “If I do, I can feel that I was able to stand on the same stage as the Hayabusa story.”
JAXA’s Hayabusa 2 is the successor to the Hayabusa probe that returned to Earth in June 2010 after collecting asteroid surface samples.
Quelle: The Asahi Shimbun
What is the total flight distance of the Hayabusa2?
When we consider the flight distance from when the Hayabusa2 leaves the Earth on Nov. 30, 2014, to its return to the Earth at the end of 2020 based on the heliocentric coordinates, the total flight distance is about 5.24 billion kilometers.
However, this distance does not mean much, because flight distance in space is different from the driving distance of a car on the Earth.
Once an asteroid explorer like the Hayabusa2 is launched and injected into an orbit around the Sun, it continues to fly around the Sun without being propelled by an engine's thrust. In other words, the flight distance automatically accumulates as time goes by. Therefore, such a long flight distance loses its significance. The more meaningful point is its return after six years of flight. (For your information, the Earth moves about 5.64 billion kilometers in the same six years, thus the Earth “flies” a longer distance than the Hayabusa2.)
In addition, when you talk about the distance, the coordinate system also plays an important role.
The aforementioned distance is based on a coordinate system that calculates the flight distance on the assumption that the Sun does not move. Actually, the Sun travels at 220 km per second around the center of the galactic system. In addition, the galactic system itself also moves in space. Therefore, the Hayabusa2’s flight distance varies depending on what coordinate system is applied.
Why does the Hayabusa2 require only one year to come home although it takes three and a half years for its outbound trip from Earth to the asteroid?
After its launch at the end of 2014, the Hayabusa2 will fly on a similar orbit as the Earth to make one circle around the Sun. Then, after about one year, it comes back near the Earth to perform a swing-by at the end of 2015. In other words, the actual time duration for the Hayabusa2 to arrive at the asteroid from the Earth is about two and a half years.
The first one year until performing a swing-by is an important period for checking the onboard ion engines through trial operations and inspecting onboard instruments.
So why is the outbound trip two and a half years whereas the inbound is only one year? This difference is based on the consideration on the required speed to arrive at the destination.
The final destination of the outbound trip is the asteroid 1999 JU3. When the Hayabusa2 comes closer to 1999 JU3, the explorer has to reduce its speed to the same as the asteroid’s to conduct a “rendezvous navigation.” In the case of the Hayabusa2’s ion engine, it cannot change its speed or orbit on short notice, thus it requires some time to control the speed.
On the other hand, the goal of the inbound trip is the Earth, and the Hayabusa2 will “just stop by at the Earth to deliver the capsule”, then will fly back to deep space. Thus it does not have to speed down to match the Earth’s speed.
The required travel time depends on the relative location of the Earth and the asteroid, which fluctuates from time to time. Luckily, the relative position is quite favorable for the scheduled inbound trip this time.
The predecessor Hayabusa was renowned for its big parabolic antennas. Why was the design changed to two flat antennas for the Hayabusa2?
Left: The Hayabusa (image by Akihiro Ikeshita) Right: The Hayabusa2 (on press day)
A. 03: The Hayabusa2’s two round flat antennas are high-gain antennas. They are used for sending a large amount of data. The Hayabusa2 is also equipped with a mid-gain antenna and low-gain antenna.
The high-gain antenna’s diameter is 90 cm, twice the diameter of a standard CS parabolic antenna for households. The Hayabusa2 is equipped with two high-gain antennas as it uses two kinds of radio waves, namely X-band and Ka-band, which have two different frequencies.
The frequency of the X-band is about 8 GHz, while that of the Ka-band is about 32 GHz, thus the Ka-band is four times faster (or the volume of data transmission is four times larger over the same duration of time.) Hence the Ka-band antenna will be used when the Hayabusa2 arrives at the asteroid and send a large amount of data after making plenty of observations.
So why are they “flat” antennas? This is because a flat antenna can perform to the same capacity as a parabolic antenna due to technological improvements.
Thanks to the flat design, the weight of the antenna is reduced to one fourth compared to a parabolic antenna whose performance is the same. A lighter antenna is better for a space explorer, thus the flat one is preferable. In addition, it is less easily heated than a parabolic antenna.
Japan’s asteroid exploration missions have used flat high-gain antennas since the Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUKI” mission launched in 2010.
TOKYO -- It has been four years since Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft brought back sand particles from the asteroid Itokawa. Now, its successor probe, Hayabusa2, is scheduled to be launched on Nov. 30. The new spacecraft's mission is to collect samples of sand and rock fragments from another asteroid and bring them back to Earth in November-December 2020.
The Hayabusa2 mission is expected to help scientists probe the mysteries of the origin of life and the birth and evolution of the solar system. The final preparations are being made for the spacecraft's journey, which will cover a total round-trip flight distance of 5.2 billion kilometers.
"We have completed [Hayabusa2] in two and a half years. We've been able to show that we have sufficient technology," said Hitoshi Kuninaka, Hayabusa2 project manager at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), on Oct. 27, when the spacecraft was unveiled at the agency's Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. Hayabusa, the original asteroid explorer, took about seven years to develop. The experience gained from the initial space probe has enabled the new spacecraft to be developed in less than half that time.
Hayabusa2's external design and basic structure are similar to its predecessor. The spacecraft measures 1-by-1.6-by-1.25 meters and weighs about 600kg. It has solar cell paddles on both sides and a cylindrical sampler horn for capturing sand and rock fragments that projects downward from its underside. It has extensive improvements from the initial spacecraft in its ion engine, which produces 25% higher thrust and has a longer service life. The new probe has four attitude control systems in case of accidents:The previous probe had three such systems and two of them malfunctioned.
The space probe has solar cell paddles on both sides.
Hayabusa2's functions have been significantly upgraded from its predecessor. A 2kg copper impactor propelled by explosives will strike the asteroid at a speed of 2km per second to create a crater. This is to collect materials from under the surface. While surface materials have weathered due to exposure to sunlight and radiation, underground materials likely retain information about conditions at the time the asteroid was formed, according to JAXA.
Hayabusa2 will also carry three rovers, which will land on the asteroid to study its surface, as well as a small lander called Mascot. The rovers are successors to the rover that failed to land on the asteroid Itokawa from the first spacecraft. They will move about by hopping. They will take photos and measure temperatures alongside Mascot, which was developed by French and German research institutions.
The spacecraft's destination, asteroid 1999JU3, orbits the sun between Earth and Mars. It is known from observations from the Earth that the asteroid has a large amount of carbon. While Itokawa was found to consist of rocks, Hayabusa2's target asteroid may contain organic matter and water.
Nagoya University professor Seiichiro Watanabe expects that if organic matter is found in the asteroid, it "will provide substantial information on how organic matter evolved in the universe." Samples brought back from the asteroid could provide clues as to how the planets and asteroid belt were formed. They could also help to solve the mystery of why virtually all living organisms on Earth are composed of left-handed amino acids.
The crucial stage of the Hayabusa2 mission will come after the spacecraft's arrival at the asteroid, scheduled for June-July 2018. The shape and surface conditions of 1999JU3 cannot be determined until they are seen up close. The landing place will be carefully selected, and then the impactor will be released from the spacecraft and propelled with explosives so that its copper plate strikes the ground at high speed. If the surface is hard, the collision will create a large crater, but if it is a sandy place, the copper plate will sink into the ground. And if the resulting crater is only tens of centimeters across, it will be difficult for the spacecraft to touch down in it to sample materials.
After the impactor is released, the spacecraft will take refuge behind the asteroid to avoid being hit by debris from the blast and the collision. It will take about 40 minutes for the spacecraft to communicate with Earth and receive a response. Therefore, operational instructions will be given to the spacecraft in advance so that it will be able to respond on its own to onsite conditions. Once the operation begins, it cannot be stopped.
The Hayabusa2 mission will spend one and a half years collecting samples from 1999JU3 while studying the asteroid. The mission control team will search for the most scientifically significant landing place and decide on operations at conferences attended by 100-200 researchers and other participants. "Hayabusa landed at a place where landing appeared possible. Hayabusa2 will land at a place where it will aim to touch down," said JAXA's Kuninaka.
After orbiting the sun about twice with the asteroid over a period of about one and a half years, Hayabusa2 is scheduled to leave the asteroid in November-December 2019 and return to Earth in November-December 2020. It is to release a capsule that contains sand and rock fragments to return to Earth and then start on a new voyage to another celestial body. The new destination has yet to be decided.
Not a drama
The first asteroid probe Hayabusa underwent a string of problems and returned to Earth in a pitiful state, but it still impressed many in the scientific community. This time, "it must not become a drama" is a catch phrase among people concerned, and conducting the mission steadily is the goal. "We want to successfully perform each step until the mission is completed in 2020," said Kuninaka.
Hayabusa was launched in 2003, and landed on the asteroid Itokawa and collected sand and other particles. In June 2010, it released a capsule containing the sample and plunged into Earth's atmosphere, burning up. The capsule survived re-entry. Hayabusa thus became the first spacecraft to land on a celestial body other than the moon and return to Earth.
The Hayabusa mission was primarily aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness of ion engines for long-distance space flight and the technology for collecting and returning samples from a distant celestial body such as an asteroid. Junichiro Kawaguchi, a JAXA senior fellow who was in charge of the Hayabusa program, said, "The No. 1 asteroid explorer was regarded as an experimental probe. The No. 2 explorer is intended as a working probe and has a higher degree of perfection."
Launch Postponement of
H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26
with Hayabusa2 Onboard
November 28, 2014 (JST)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
The launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) with the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” onboard has been rescheduled as clouds including a freezing layer (please refer to the following figure) that exceeds the restrictions for suitable weather are forecast to be generated at around the scheduled launch time on November 30 (Sun.), 2014 (Japan Standard Time.)
The new launch day will be no earlier than December 1 (Mon.), 2014 (JST).
The new launch day and time will be announced as soon as it is determined after carefully examining the weather conditions.
Hayabusa2-Start verschoben auf 3.Dezember 2014
Wegen starker Winde wird Hayabusa2 nicht wie geplant am morgigen Montag zum Asteroiden 1999 JU3 starten können. An Bord hat die Rakete den Lander "Mascot" des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR).
Der Start der Hayabusa2-Sonde ist auf Mittwoch, 3. Dezember, 5 Uhr 25 MEZ verschoben worden. Sie soll den Asteroidenlander Mascot (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) vom japanischen Tanegashima Space Centre zum Asteroiden 1999 JU3 bringen.
Update: 2.12.2014 / 14.00 MEZ
Update: 23.40 MEZ
Ocean-bound rocket debris to be handed out as souvenirs after Hayabusa 2 launch
MINAMITANE, Kagoshima Prefecture--Pieces of the top of the H2-A rocket carrying the Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe into space will be doled out by the town government here in a lottery to spectators of the launch, scheduled for Dec. 3.
"They (the pieces) are part of the rocket that will transport the important Hayabusa 2 into space and return back to Earth, so we want to give them to the spectators," said an official of the Minamitane town government.
The part in question is the payload fairing of the 26th H2-A rocket. The fairing, located at the top of the structure, is made from aluminum alloy and shields the probe from the impact of pressure and heat as it rises into the cosmos.
Although the parts are usually processed as industrial waste after such missions are completed, the host town for the launch decided to take on the parts after blastoff.
According to the plan, the H2-A rocket, carrying the Hayabusa 2, will lift off at 1:22 p.m. on Dec. 3 from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency-run Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima island.
About four minutes and 10 seconds after launch, the payload fairing is expected to split into two parts and be jettisoned from the rocket, falling into the ocean below.
The Hayabusa 2 will then be propelled by second boosters to a pre-programmed location, at which point it will separate from the rocket.
While the majority of parts that will fall back to Earth, including fuel tanks, will sink into the ocean, the aluminum fairing will float on the sea.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which is commissioned to launch the H2-A rocket, will retrieve the parts.
The debris will be cut into pieces measuring 5 by 4 by 3 centimeters and given to spectators as mementos by lottery.
Town officials anticipate that around 300 of the gifts will be available, depending on how much of the aluminum can be retrieved from the sea.
Tickets for the draw will be distributed on Dec. 3 at four observation sites for the Hayabusa 2's launch. Tickets have already been distributed at an airport and boarding gate for a high-speed ship to the island to individuals who were unable to see the launch after it was postponed a second time on Dec. 1.