Press Release


JAXA President Comment
on Retrieval of the HAYABUSA Capsule

June 14, 2010 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Asteroid Explorer "HAYABUSA" was launched from Uchinoura Space Center, Kagoshima, Japan on May 9th, 2003, and touched down on the asteroid "Itokawa" in November 2005. After obtaining the asteroid's surface material, HAYABUSA left for the Earth and finally, in early morning of June 13th, 2010, entered the Earth's atmosphere along with the re-entry capsule that the spacecraft detached beforehand. The capsule successfully landed in the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia, and was retrieved by JAXA at approximately 4:08 p.m. (JST) on June 14th, 2010.

It is a great pleasure to see Hayabusa successfully complete the 6 billion km journey, after meeting extreme difficulties that put the spacecraft on the verge of shut down numerous times. We, JAXA, would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Government of Australia, relevant people at the Woomera Prohibited Area, and NASA for their continued cooperation on the HAYABUSA project. We would also like to thank the people of Japan and the world, Japanese government, and the media for their warm support and encouragement.

Retrieved capsule will be transported to JAXA Sagamihara Campus in Kanagawa, Japan. First, the sample container will be inspected, and then the content will be extracted for analysis. We hope to find the Itokawa's surface material in the capsule, and contribute to understanding the origin and evolution of the solar system.