Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" Topics

Topics List

Jul. 1, 2016 Updated
Ryugu Observation Campaign (for expert observers)

The target asteroid of Hayabusa2 is (162173) Ryugu, 1999 JU3 in the provisional designation. Hayabusa2 will arrive at this asteroid in June - July 2018. In this summer, we have a opportunity to observe Ryugu, so we set up "Ryugu Observation Campaign" from July 1 to August 15, 2016. This is the last chance to observe Ryugu before Hayabusa2 arrives there.

However the maximum apparent magnitude will be just 18th mag, so it is rather dark. Maybe you need a telescope with the diameter of 1m or so. Or you must follow the motion of Ryugu with your telescope. Therefor the observation will be rather difficult, but please try it if you can. Good luck!

Ryugu Observation Campaign (for expert observers)

Mar. 31, 2016 Updated
Hayabysa2 mission logo color change

It has been a year since Hayabusa2 was launched, and we changed the color of the mission logo while moving to the Transfer orbit* phase.
The illustration of Hayabusa2 itself is the same but the name of the target asteroid was updated to RYUGU from its provisional designation 1999JU3. The background color was also changed to blue for showing Hayabusa2’s endeavor flying through space in the solar system toward RYUGU by leaving the near Earth orbit.
Please support Hayabusa2, which is navigating the mighty ocean of the solar system.
* The orbit between the Earth orbit and the orbit around RYUGU.

Hayabysa2 mission logo color change

Dec. 25, 2015 Updated
The Optical Link Experiment with the Laser Altimeter (LIDAR)

Before and after the Earth swing-by, the laser altimeter (LIDAR) on Hayabusa2 attempted to receive laser light from the satellite laser ranging (SLR) ground stations.
After the swing-by, the Mt. Stromlo station at SERC (Space Environment Research Centre Australia) in the suburbs of Canberra, Australia, transmitted laser light towards Hayabusa2. The spacecraft successfully received the beam using the onboard LIDAR that can send and recieve laser signals to accurately establish the range of objects from the spacecraft. At the time of the transmission from Mt. Stomlo, Hayabusa2 was 6,700,000 km from Earth. This success established the one-way 'up link' of the optical connection.

The Optical Link Experiment with the Laser Altimeter (LIDAR)

Dec. 24, 2015 Updated
Photographing the Earth just before Hayabusa2's swing-by : Complete version

In our previous post, we shared images of the Earth taken by Hayabusa2, as the spacecraft approached for the Earth swing-by. There, we showed the Earth from 09:00 JST (00:00 UT) through to 17:45 JST (08:45 UT). In this post, we extend the animation to show all the images that were taken of the Earth from the ONC-W2 camera during the Earth approach which runs to 18:30 JST (09:00 UT) (Figure 1). Figure 2 shows the images individually that comprise the animation, totaling 19 separate frames.

Photographing the Earth just before Hayabusa2's swing-by : Complete version

Dec. 14, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2: Successful Earth swing-by and heading to Ryugu

JAXA confirmed that the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” entered its target orbit to travel to an asteroid Ryugu after the Earth-swing-by on Dec. 3.

The Hayabusa2 took images of the Earth using its onboard Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T) after the swing-by. You can see the Australian continent and Antarctica in the image. Meteorological satellites including the Himawari cannot take images of the Antarctic area hence the shot this time is precious.

Hayabusa2: Successful Earth swing-by and heading to Ryugu

Dec. 3, 2015 Updated
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.

Hayabusa2 Earth Swing-by

Nov. 27, 2015 Updated
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.

*The images here were trimmed for the sake of the website. Please have a look at JAXA Digital Archives for the original image.

Hayabusa2 took images of the moon and Earth

Nov. 2, 2015 Updated
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 set for Earth swing-by! Your support messages welcomed.

Oct. 5, 2015 Updated
“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.

“Ryugu” was selected as name of Hayabusa2 target asteroid

Sep. 2, 2015 Updated
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)

Hayabusa2 additional ion engine operation for Earth swing-by

Jul. 22, 2015 Updated
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)

Naming Proposal Campaign: Become a godparent of asteroid "1999 JU3", destination of Hayabusa2!

Jun. 8, 2015 Updated
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.

Hayabusa2 second ion engine continuous operation completed

Apr. 10, 2015 Updated
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.

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

Baton pass to new Hayabusa2 project manager

Mar. 5, 2015 Updated
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.

Hayabusa2 initial functional confirmation completed and moved to cruising phase to asteroid

Feb. 3, 2015 Updated
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 in great shape – Initial functional confirmation going smoothly

Dec. 5, 2014 Updated
Hayabusa2 flying smoothly!

JAXA confirmed the completion of a sequence of the important operations for the "Hayabusa2" mission. With this confirmation, the critical operation phase* of the Hayabusa2 was completed.
The explorer is now in a stable condition.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all parties and personnel concerned for their support and cooperation with the Hayabusa2 launch and tracking control operations.
In addition, we would also like to ask for your continued cooperation and support for the long-term Hayabusa2 space exploration mission.

Please send your support messages for the mission! (you can send a message from Hayabusa2 Project page or tweet with hashtag #hayabusa2).

Hayabusa2 flying smoothly!

Dec. 3, 2014 Updated
"Hayabusa2" successfully launched!

H-IIA F26 with the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" onboard launched at 1:22:04 p.m. on Dec 3, 2014 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.
The rocket flew smoothly, and, at about approximately one hour, 47 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff, "Hayabusa2" was separated from the H-IIA F26. We will update you with the latest information on the "Hayabusa2" on the project page.
Please send your support messages for the mission! (you can send a message from Hayabusa2 Project page or tweet with hashtag #hayabusa2).

"Hayabusa2" successfully launched!

Nov. 30, 2014 Updated
"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to 1:22:04 p.m. on December 3 (Mon.) 2014

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and JAXA have decided to postpone the launch of "Hayabusa2" and piggyback payloads by the H-IIA F26 to 1:22:04 p.m. on Dec 3 (Wed. JST).

The live launch report will begin at 12:25 p.m. on December 3 (Mon. , JST). The report will be broadcast through the Internet.
Please send your support messages for the mission! (you can send a message from Hayabusa2 Project page or tweet with hashtag #hayabusa2).

We decided to postpone as a result of the go/no go decision meeting today which carefully checked the weather forecast and found that strong wind exceeding the weather restrictions was projected around the launch pad at the scheduled launch time on the previous schedule launch day of Dec. 1 (Mon.), 2014.
*The launch may be delayed further depending on weather conditions and other factors.

"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to  1:22:04 p.m. on December 3 (Mon.) 2014

Nov. 29, 2014 Updated
"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to 1:22:43 p.m. on December 1 (Mon.) 2014

The launch of the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" and three micro piggyback payloads by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 was rescheduled at 1:22:43 p.m. on December 1 (Mon. Japan Standard Time, JST) after carefully studying the weather conditions.
Accordingly, the live launch report will begin at 12:25 p.m. on December 1 (Mon. , JST). The report will be broadcast through the Internet.
Please send your support messages for the mission, or tweet it including the hashtag #hayabusa2.

"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to 1:22:43 p.m. on December 1 (Mon.) 2014

Nov. 28, 2014 Updated
Hayabusa2 launch postponement

H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.26 with the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" onboard has been rescheduled as clouds including a freezing layer 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 announced as soon as it is determined.

Hayabusa2 launch postponement

Nov. 27, 2014 Updated
New movie "Ready to Face New Challenges -Hayabusa2- "

The new video clip titled "Ready to Face New Challenges -Hayabusa2- " was uploaded to the YouTube.
It has been four years since the Hayabusa's dramatic return from space,bringing back the world's first samples from an asteroid. To further clarify the mystery of the origin and evolution of human beings, the Hayabusa2 is leaving for space. This video explains the special features and significance of the Hayabusa2 mission in an easy and simple manner.

New movie "Ready to Face New Challenges -Hayabusa2- "

Nov. 4, 2014 Updated
“Hayabusa2" Launch Live Broadcast (by H-IIA F26)

JAXA will broadcast a live report of the Asteroid Explorer Hayabusa2’s launch by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.26 (H-IIA F26) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The report will cover launch events from the liftoff to the payload separation from the launch vehicle.

Program summary

The broadcast program consists of two parts. The first half mainly focuses on launch events prior to and after liftoff. Then the latter half covers events before and after the Hayabusa2’s separation from the launch vehicle.

*Please be aware that the time schedule of the program is subject to change due to progress of the launch operations.

Program contents

Part I
Prior and after liftoff of H-IIA F26/Hayabusa2

  • Introduction of the Hayabusa2 mission including a VTR of its preparation operation
  • Introduction of piggyback payloads
  • Live launch report from the control room

*The scheduled launch time is 1:24 p.m.

Part I broadcast day and time
12:30 p.m. thru 1:45 p.m. (75 minutes) on Nov. 30 (Sun.)

Part II

  • Prior to and after the Hayabusa2’s separation from the launch vehicle

* Images of piggyback payloads’ separation will NOT be broadcast.
* Hayabusa2’s separation is scheduled to take place one hour and 47 minutes after liftoff.

Part II broadcast day and time
3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (30 minutes) on Nov. 30 (Sun.)

Internet live broadcast

JAXA will distribute our live report through the following Internet channels.

* The copyright of the live broadcast belongs to JAXA.
* Please be aware that a slight time lag up to a few minutes may occur due to the Internet’s characteristics.

We are welcoming support messages at the special site. Please send your messages for the mission, or tweet it. To tweet on Twitter, please attach the hashtag, #hayabusa2.
Click the following link to send a message to JAXA.

“Hayabusa2" Launch Live Broadcast (by H-IIA F26)

Sep. 30, 2014 Updated
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.

The latest information about "Hayabusa2" and its launch preparation status will be updated on the "Hayabusa2" project page.
We welcome your support message for the Hayabusa2.
Please send your support messages for the mission, or tweet it including the hashtag #hayabusa2.

New voyager to travel deep into space! Hayabusa2 to be launched on Nov. 30

Sep. 5, 2014 Updated
Hayabusa2 revealed to the media

The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” was shown to the media at Sagamihara Campus on August 31, 2014.

The Hayabusa2 is the successor of the Hayabusa, which captured sample particles from an asteroid and returned to the Earth in 2010. By capitalizing on the experience of the Hayabusa, the Hayabusa2 aims at acquiring samples and bringing them back from the C-type asteroid "1999JU3" to elucidate the origin and evolution of the solar system and material for life.

"I am bracing for the new voyage of the Hayabusa2." said Project Manager Kuninaka.
The Hayabusa2 will be transferred to the Tanegashima Space Center for its launch in this winter after its final check there.

Hayabusa2 revealed to the media

Nov. 20, 2013 Updated
Hayabusa2 Small Carry-on Impactor undergoes test

Hayabusa2’s Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) underwent a test in October, 2013.
The SCI is a device to create an artificial crater of the asteroid 1999JU3, which the Hayabusa 2 will travel toward. By making and observing an artificial crater, we can acquire data not only about the surface but also about the inside of the asteroid. In addition, by sampling near the crater, we can collect inside samples of the asteroid.
Hayabusa2 applies a method to throw a metal projectile against the asteroid with high speed to create an artificial crater. Through the test this time, we confirmed the accelerating part of the projectile while aiming to verify if its speed, configuration, and thrown direction precision met the design when the pyrotechnics, which were comparable to those of actual ones for the flight, were ignited to set off the projectile.
The test results were very impressive as the speed and configuration were almost as designed, and the direction precision was also good as the SCI precisely hit a target that was 100 meters away. We were able to successfully complete the performance confirmation test of the SCI pyrotechnic part.

Hayabusa2 SCI test [JAXA Digital Archives]

Hayabusa2 Small Carry-on Impactor undergoes test

Jul. 17, 2013 Updated
Campaign extended till August 9 (Fri.)!
- Let's attach your name and message to Hayabusa2 -

JAXA has been conducting a campaign to attach names and messages of Hayabusa2 mission supporters from all over the world to the space probe! We would love to share this superb moment and feeling of achievement with you through this campaign.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all of you who joined the campaign since it began on April 10 till today. Also we appreciate your cooperation for registering or sending your names and messages on time. Thank you very much.

As we read the support messages for the Hayabusa2, we strongly felt that we would like to support this mission by being united with more of you.
Luckily, the Hayabusa2 manufacturing schedule has allowed us to extend the campaign period!

New deadline:
August 9 (Fri.)
From the website: till 5:00 p.m. on Aug. 9
Conventional mail: must be received by Aug. 9

To join the campaign:
http://www.jspec.jaxa.jp/hottopics/20130329.html (Japanese language only)


We are looking forward to hearing from more of you as an individual and/or as a community such as a family, a school or a company, and/or with your friends!

With the Hayabusa2
Let's go to asteroid 1999 JU3, and return to Earth

Jun. 14, 2013 Updated
Hayabusa2 completes first integration test

All processes of the Hayabusa2's first integration test since January this year were completed on June 7. The test aimed at installing all onboard devices onto the satellite structure and confirming interfaces among them. During the mass property measurement, the last process of the integration test, the "Hayabusa2" exposed its full shape for the first time with all devices for the test installed.
We will remove each device from the main body of the Hayabusa2, then the devices will be given their final touches. They will be tested again and assembled again to the explorer for the next-phase test. All the project team members will do our best as we have done to steadily implement the Hayabusa2 project.

Mar. 29, 2013 Updated
Hayabusa2 can carry your names and messages to space

JAXA is holding a campaign to record your names, messages and illustrations onboard the asteroid probe Hayabusa2.
Hayabusa2 is scheduled to be launched by the H-IIA launch vehicle in FY2014, then arrive at an asteroid in 2018 and investigate it for about one and half years, before returning to the earth in 2020.
The campaign will start from April 10. We welcome your participation!

Dec. 27, 2012 Updated
Hayabusa2 revealed before the first integration test

On Dec. 26, the Hayabusa2 was revealed at the Sagamihara Campus. As its design was completed this spring, the Hayabusa2 will soon undergo the first integration test to confirm the interfaces among onboard devices as well as between the devices and the explorer’s bus after assembling them onto the bus. Also, the flight models of the Hayabusa2’s main body and solar array paddles have already been manufactured, thus those models will be verified through a vibration test. In addition, the exposed environment for the onboard devices will also be measured. JAXA is developing the Hayabusa2 to be ready for its launch in FY2014.

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