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Asteroid Explorer HAYABUSA Returns to Earth!

The Asteroid Explorer HAYABUSA, launched in May 2003, arrived at asteroid Itokawa in September 2005. HAYABUSA successfully landed on Itokawa that November, but then a series of problems developed, including a fuel leakage, engine malfunctions and the loss of communication. HAYABUSA’s return to Earth was threatened many times, but the space probe managed to overcome these problems. It re-entered the atmosphere above the southern Australia sky on June 13, 2010, returning to Earth after traveling about 6 billion kilometers over seven years. It was the first time ever that a space probe landed on a celestial body other than the Moon and returned to Earth.HAYABUSA’s return to Earth is truly a glorious achievement. You can read about it here, along with an introduction to the future project HAYABUSA-2. You can also view images from the "Welcome back HAYABUSA" event held last August.
  • Bringing HAYABUSA Back to Earth Junichiro Kawaguchi HAYABUSA Project Manager FULL STORY
  • HAYABUSA’s Engine Turned Our Hopes into Reality Hitoshi Kuninaka Lead Developer of HAYABUSA’s Ion Engine FULL STORY
  • The Moment HAYABUSA Became a Meteor Junichi Watanabe Member of the HAYABUSA Atmospheric Re-entry Observation Team at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan FULL STORY
  • Preparing for HAYABUSA’s Successor Makoto Yoshikawa Leader, HAYABUSA-2 Project Preparation Team FULL STORY

Welcome back, Hayabusa Thank you for your support eventThe HAYABUSA capsule was exhibited in Tokyo from August 15 to 19, 2010, attracting more than 40,000 visitors. Here are some images and comments from the event.

Celebrating HAYABUSA’s Return
HAYABUSA’s return photo: courtesy of Yutaka Iijima