Hayabusa2 in great shape – Initial functional confirmation going smoothly
The Hayabusa2, launched on Dec. 3, 2014 (JST), is now undergoing the initial functional confirmation. Basic operations and performance of onboard instruments and ground systems have been tested one by one as of the end of January.
Here are some major examples of what we confirmed.
Ion engine test operation (one unit at a time)
Four ion engines were being operated one by one. A thrust of 7-10 mN was generated on the orbit for the first time.
Establishing communication by Ka band communication equipment (Between Jan. 5 to 10, 2015)
Communication was successful between the Hayabusa2 and NASA DSN stations to establish deep-space Ka-band communication for the first time for a Japanese space explorer. Ka-band communication will be used to send observation data during the mission for the Hayabusa2 to stay near the asteroid.
Ion engine can autonomously operate for 24 hours.
Long duration of autonomous operation (*1) with two or three ion engines was tested, and 24-hour continuous operation was attained.
The maximum thrust was confirmed to be about 28 mN, which is the expected value.
The explorer is currently in good shape.
We will further confirm the coordinated function of multiple instruments of the Hayabusa2, and plan to move to the cruise operation phase (*2) sometime in March.
*1 The autonomous operation is automatic control of an engine without instructions from the ground.
*2 The mode of full-scale navigation operation toward the asteroid through acceleration and orbit control by ion engine thrust.
Hayabusa2 initial functional confirmation completed and moved to cruising phase to asteroid
The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2,” launched on Dec. 3, 2014, completed its initial functional confirmation period of about three months. The explorer was moving to the cruising phase on March 3 while heading to the asteroid “1999 JU3.”
The Hayabusa2 is in good health. It will be under preparatory operation including speed increase by continuous operation of the ion engines for an Earth swing-by scheduled in Nov. or Dec., 2015.
Baton pass to new Hayabusa2 project manager
The Hayabusa2 is stably flying in space. The new fiscal year has just started in Japan, and JAXA is taking a new step as we became a National Research and Development Agency from the previous independent administrative agency. The Hayabusa2 project is also taking a fresh step with a new team, including handing the baton over to a new project manager. All members of the project are engaged in the mission with a fresh mindset.
To become a National Research and Development Agency - Message from president of JAXA
Message from New Project Manager Yuichi Tsuda
The Hayabusa2 is stably flying since its launch and smoothly continuing it interplanetary cruising. I can, therefore, take over the mission at the best condition from my predecessor, former Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka, who led the development of the project. With many operation experts joining the new team, we would like to successfully send the Hayabusa2 to the asteroid 1999JU3, and have it come home safely.
The Hayabusa2 mission is challenging an unexplored field. We would like to contribute to enhancing the value of technology, science and space exploration through our accomplishments in traveling through the solar system in this six-year mission.
Message from Former Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka
As the development phase is over, Hayabusa2’s deep space exploration has started.
At the beginning of this fiscal year, a multiple number of our project members including myself were subject to personnel changes. Our team worked well with good team spirit to tackle and overcome various obstacles and difficulties. Therefore, I felt a bit disappointed to see part of the team was shuffled. Having said that, those who remain in the team as well as the leaving members vow to work hard and do our best using our expertise in space projects no matter what department we are assigned to. Your continued support for the Hayabusa2 is very much appreciated.
Photo: left: New Project Manager Yuichi Tsuda, right: Former Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka
Hayabusa2 second ion engine continuous operation completed
The Hayabusa2 has been continuously operating its ion engine for the second time since June 2, and successfully completed its operations at 0:25 a.m. on June 7 (Japan Standard Time.) The second continuous operation lasted for 102 hours as scheduled.
The Hayabusa2 performed the ion engine continuous operation in preparation for the Earth swing-by planned in December, and the total hours of the first and second operations (409 hours and 102 hours respectively) reached 511 hours.
The ion engine operation may be conducted again if needs arise for subtle orbit change after carefully examining the second operation result.
Naming Proposal Campaign: Become a godparent of asteroid "1999 JU3", destination of Hayabusa2!
JAXA is holding a naming proposal campaign to christen the asteroid “1999 JU3",which the Hayabusa2 is scheduled to visit in June or July 2018. Why don’t you try to become a godparent of the asteroid?
The application period is from 1:30 p.m. on July 22 thru 11:59 p.m. on August 31 (Japan Standard Time.)
August 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. (Japan Standard Time). (Extended from 10:00)
Hayabusa2 additional ion engine operation for Earth swing-by
On Sept. 1 (Tue.) and 2 (Wed.), the ion engine of the Hayabusa2 was additionally operated in order to increase the orbit control accuracy for the Earth swing-by.
The additional jet emission was completed as scheduled, and the ion engine was operated for about 12 hours in total.
We will analyze telemetry data (data sent from the explorer to indicate its condition) in detail to confirm the status of the engine during the operation and orbit control before and after the emission.
Figure: Positional relation of Hayabusa2, the Earth, the Sun, and Asteroid 1999JU3 (Schematic as of Sept. 1, 2015)
“Ryugu” was selected as name of Hayabusa2 target asteroid
Asteroid 1999 JU3, a target of the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2,” was named “Ryugu”.
One major reason for the selection was that, in the Japanese ancient story “Urashima Taro”, the main character, Taro Urashima, brought back a casket from the Dragon’s palace, or the “Ryugu” Castle, at the bottom of the ocean, and the theme of “bringing back a treasure” is common as the Hayabusa2 will also bring back a capsule with samples. It was selected among 7,336 entries.
The Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) Team of the United States, which discovered 1999 JU3, proposed the suggested name of “Ryugu” to the International Asteroid Union (IAU), and it was finalized by being listed on the Minor Planet Names: Alphabetical List of the IAU Minor Planet Center.
Thank you very much to so many of you who took part in the naming campaign.
Hayabusa2 set for Earth swing-by! Your support messages welcomed.
The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” will fly near the Earth to perform an Earth swing-by utilizing the Earth’s gravity on Dec. 3 (Thur.) for its orbit control.
The Hayabusa2, which soared into space on Dec. 3, 2014, will coincidentally come close to the Earth on Dec. 3 (Thur.), 2015, to conduct the Earth swing-by. The explorer will fly closest to the Earth at around 7:07 p.m. on that day (Japan Standard Time).
After the swing-by, the Hayabusa2 will head to its target asteroid “Ryugu”. Your support for the mission will be very welcomed. We are waiting for your support messages to the explorer itself, project personnel, and the overall mission.
Hayabusa2 took images of the moon and Earth
The Hayabusa2, which is flying closer to the Earth for its scheduled swing-by, photographed the moon and the Earth simultaneously using its onboard Optical Navigation Camera-Telephoto (ONC-T) at 12:46 p.m. on November 26, 2015 (Japan Standard Time).
On the right is the Earth, and you can see the moon on the left. The ONC-T has a multiple number of filters for observing the asteroid “Ryugu”. The image data this time was acquired by using three of the filters, and a pseudo-color image was compiled by assigning the three as R (red), G (green) and B (blue). The distance between the Hayabusa2 and the Earth was about three million kilometers.
You can see the Australian continent on the right, the Eurasian continent covered by clouds on the left, and the white vertical areas between them are clouds over the equator.
The ONC-T was jointly developed by JAXA, the University of Tokyo, Chiba Institute of Technology, Rikkyo University, Meiji University, Nagoya University, the University of Aizu, and Kochi University.
Hayabusa2 Earth Swing-by
JAXA performed an Earth swing-by operation of the "Hayabusa2" on the night of Dec 3 （Thu.）, 2015 （Japan Standard Time）. The "Hayabusa2 flew closest to the Earth at 7:08 p.m. （JST） and passed over the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaii islands at an altitude of about 3,090 km.
After its closest flight to the Earth, we have confirmed the good health of the "Hayabusa2".
It will take about a week to confirm if the explorer entered the target orbit.
SPACECRAFT BUZZES EARTH, PROCEEDS TO ASTEROID:
Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft swung past Earth on Dec 3rd at 7:08 p.m. JST, passing over the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaiian islands at an altitude of about 3,090 km. JAXA (the Japanese space agency) has just released these images of our planet taken by the speeding probe:
The flyby was a slingshot maneuver designed to propel Hayabusa 2 toward asteroid Ryugu, the target of an ambitious sample return mission in 2018-2020. JAXA says the spacecraft is in good health following its close encounter with Earth.
Quelle: Spaceweather, JAXA
Hayabusa2 Earth Swing-by Result
National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed that the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” is cruising on its target orbit after measuring and calculating the post-Earth-swing-by orbit.
The Hayabusa2 performed the Earth swing-by on the night of December 3 (Thu.), 2015 (Japan Standard Time). The Hayabusa2 flew closest to the Earth at 7:08 p.m. (JST) and passed over the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaii islands at an altitude of about 3,090 km. With the swing-by, the explorer’s orbit turned by about 80 degrees and its speed increased by about 1.6 km per second to about 31.9 km per second (against the sun) thus the orbit achieved the target numbers.
According to the operation supported by the NASA Deep Space Network stations and European Space Agency deep space ground station, the Hayabusa2 is in good health.
Message from Project Manager Yuichi Tsuda
I would like to express my deep gratitude to all pertinent parties and people and those who are supporting our operation. All the Hayabusa2 project team members have been working together and will continue our challenging voyage. The Hayabusa2 gained orbit energy through the swing-by to leave the Earth. The target is the asteroid “Ryugu”. “See you later, people on Earth!”
At 0:00 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2015, the Hayabusa2 is flying at: about 4.15 million km from the Earth, and about 144.85 million km from the sun.
Its cruising speed is 32.31 km per second (against the sun).
The Hayabusa2 is increasing its speed under the influence of the sun’s gravity after the swing-by.
After the swing-by, the Hayabusa2 took images of the Earth using its onboard Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T). The ONC-T can shoot color images using seven filters.
The image below is composed by using three of these filters. You can see the Australian continent and Antarctica in the image. The South Pole is not lit by the sun during the summer, and meteorological satellites also do not cover the Antarctic area to take its images, hence the shot this time is precious.
Shot at 1：09 p.m. on Dec. 4 (Japan Standard Time), about 340,000 km from the center of the Earth
You can see the Australian continent on the upper right, and Antarctica on the lower right.