Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" Topics

Topics List

Jun. 27, 2019 Updated
JAXA and CNES Sign Implementing Arrangement on Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) and Hayabusa2

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has agreed to cooperate with Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) on the study-phase activities in JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration(MMX) mission and analysis of Hayabusa2-returned samples.
Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA and Jean-Yves LE GALL, President of CNES signed the two Implementing Arrangements for MMX and Hayabusa2 cooperation on June 26, 2019.

On the occasion of the visit by Mr. Emanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, to Japan, the exchange ceremony of the signed two Implementing Arrangements took place at the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Emmanuel Macron.

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About the Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperative activities related to Martian Moon eXploration (MMX) mission studies

The MMX mission is planned to observe Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos and to collect surface material from one of the moons to bring back to Earth. It aims to clarify the origin of the Martian moons and the process of evolution for Mars region and to improve technologies required for future exploration.
MMX is currently in the phase of preparation for developing a spacecraft and the launch is targeted in FY2024.

CNES will contribute to this mission by providing the near infrared spectrometer (MacrOmega) and the knowledge and expertise of the Flight Dynamics, as well as by conducting studies of rover which is to be equipped on MMX spacecraft jointly with German Aerospace Center (DLR).

For more information on MMX, visit:

About the Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperative activities related to analysis of Hayabusa2 return samples by MicrOmega at JAXA Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center

Hayabusa2 is a successor of Hayabusa. By investigating the asteroid Ryugu(type-C asteroid)and collecting samples for return to Earth, it aims to clarify the origins and evolution of Earth as well as organic materials that formed the oceans and the life.
Hayabusa2 was launched on December 3, 2014 and arrived at Ryugu in June 2018. It is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of 2020.

Under this agreement, CNES will provide the infrared spectroscopy microscope (MicrOmega) to be equipped in JAXA Extraterrestrial Samples Curation Center. It will contribute to improve the analysis of asteroid samples. In addition, this agreement stipulates the data policy which defines how to share and manage data from the MicrOmega.

For more information on Hayabusa2, visit:

Apr. 4, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] SCI (Small Carry-on Impactor) Operation Schedule

The Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) operation will take place between April 3 – 6. This is an impact experiment to create an artificial crater in a designated area.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] SCI (Small Carry-on Impactor) Operation Schedule

Mar. 28, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Revised illustrations of Hayabusa2

At the beginning of the Hayabusa2 Project, realistic illustrations were drawn by Akihiro Ikeshita. These illustrations have now been revised to match the actual asteroid Ryugu.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Revised illustrations of Hayabusa2

Mar. 20, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] The Crater Search Operation (Pre-SCI): CRA1

Currently, we have scheduled the small carry-on impactor operation (SCI operation) for the first week in April. The purpose of the SCI operation is to create a crater on the surface of Ryugu, and it is important to be able to compare the asteroid surface before and after the SCI operation. Before performing the SCI operation, we therefore decided to observe the area where the crater is likely to be generated. This is the “Crater Search Operation (Pre-SCI)" (CRA1). The same observational procedure will be performed after the SCI operation and denoted “Crater Search Operation (Post SCI)" (CRA2).


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] The Crater Search Operation (Pre-SCI): CRA1

Feb. 25, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Image from just after touchdown

From February 20 to 22, we conducted the touchdown operation (TD1-L8E1) of Hayabusa2 on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. Figure 1 shows an image taken with the Optical Navigation Camera – Wide angle (ONC-W1) during the spacecraft ascent after touchdown.

Figure 1 was captured roughly 1 minute after touchdown at an estimated altitude of about 25m (error is a few meter). The color of the region beneath the spacecraft’s shadow differs from the surroundings and has been discolored by the touchdown. At the moment, the reason for the discoloration is unknown but it may be due to the grit that was blown upwards by the spacecraft thrusters or bullet (projectile).

Figure 1: Image captured near the touchdown site immediately after touchdown. The photograph was taken with the Optical Navigation Camera – Wide angle (ONC-W1) on February 22, 2019 at an onboard time of around 07:30 JST.
(Image credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.)


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Image from just after touchdown

Feb. 22, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Thank you for your support!

The Hayabusa2 Project has received messages of support from so many people. The encouragement and enthusiasm from you all for the mission has made the entire project team fired up and enthusiastic!


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Thank you for your support!

Feb. 21, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] The touchdown site

Up until now, the Hayabusa2 mission has progressed smoothly. One particular success was the landing of the small rovers on the surface of Ryugu, which could not be achieved during the first Hayabusa mission. Now on February 22, 2019, we plan to touchdown on the asteroid surface; another challenge that did not go as expected for Hayabusa.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] The touchdown site

Feb. 18, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Shooting bullets into Ryugu!

On December 28 —the last day of work in 2018— the sampler team conducted an important experiment. As a final test before touchdown (TD), the team fired an identical bullet to that onboard Hayabusa2 into a simulated soil of the surface of Ryugu to test how much sample would be ejected.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Shooting bullets into Ryugu!

Feb. 4, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Correction to the name of the MINERVA-II1 landing site.

The landing site for the small exploration rovers, MINERVA-II1, was announced on December 13, 2018 as “Trinitas”, but this will be corrected to “Tritonis”.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Correction to the name of the MINERVA-II1 landing site.

Jan. 21, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Locations on the surface of Ryugu have been named!

Place names for locations on the surface of Ryugu were discussed by Division F (Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature and approved in December 2018. We will introduce the place names and the background to their selection.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Locations on the surface of Ryugu have been named!

Jan. 16, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Mission Manager Yoshikawa selected for "Nature's 10" in 2018

Our Mission Manager, Makoto Yoshikawa, has been chosen by the science journal, Nature, as one of the "ten people who mattered in science this year" in "The 2018 Nature's 10".


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Mission Manager Yoshikawa selected for "Nature's 10" in 2018

Dec. 25, 2018 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Astrodynamics and the Gravity Measurement Descent Operation

Until now, "astrodynamics" has been one of the less frequently reported operations for Hayabusa2. In space engineering, the movement, attitude, trajectory and overall handling of the flight mechanics of the spacecraft is referred to as "astrodynamics". For example, astrodynamics played an active role in the gravity measurement descent operation in August 2018. While this was a short time ago, let's look at a few of the details.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Astrodynamics and the Gravity Measurement Descent Operation

Dec. 25, 2018 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Spacecraft orbit during solar conjunction

From late November 2018 until the end of December, the solar conjunction operation is underway for Hayabusa2. Solar conjunction refers to the situation where the direction to the spacecraft almost overlaps with that to the Sun when viewed from the Earth. This is the same "conjunction" as in astronomy, whereby planets and stars appear to line up on the sky. During this time, communication with Hayabusa2 is disrupted due to radio waves emitted from the Sun and from its surrounding plasma. We therefore do not perform operations such as descending towards Ryugu during this period.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Spacecraft orbit during solar conjunction

Dec. 13, 2018 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Naming our MINERVA-II1 rovers

On September 21, 2018 (JST), the two MINERVA-II1 rovers (Rover-1A and Rover-1B) separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft to land on the surface of asteroid Ryugu, where they successfully imaged and hopped across the asteroid surface autonomously. These two rovers have now been given names.

Rover-1A,
Horned owl from the French word:
イブー(HIBOU)
Highly Intelligent Bouncing Observation Unit


Rover-1B,
Owl from English:
アウル(OWL)
Observation unit with intelligent Wheel Locomotion


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Naming our MINERVA-II1 rovers

Oct. 30, 2018 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Small Monitor Camera captures ‘cool’ images!

During the operation for Touchdown 1 Rehearsal 3 (TD1-R3), we attempted to capture images using CAM-H (small monitor camera) as the spacecraft approached the surface of Ryugu. CAM-H was manufactured and installed on Hayabusa2 by donations received from the general public and it is attached near the lower edge of the side of the spacecraft. The camera can photograph the tip of the sampler horn, but it can also capture the surrounding area and background.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Small Monitor Camera captures ‘cool’ images!

Oct. 26, 2018 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] The highest resolution image of Ryugu (resolution update : the highest resolution image to date)

The second touchdown rehearsal (TD1-R1-A) was performed from October 14 to 16. On October 15, just before 22:44 JST when the spacecraft reached a new low altitude of 22.3m, we successfully photographed the surface of Ryugu using the Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic (ONC-T). This is the highest resolution image to date (Figure).

Figure: The surface of Ryugu photographed on October 15 at 22:40 JST using the Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic (ONC-T). The altitude here is about 42m.
(Image credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST)


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] The highest resolution image of Ryugu (resolution update : the highest resolution image to date)

Jul. 25, 2018 Updated
Imaging Ryugu from an altitude of 6km

Hayabusa2 arrived at asteroid Ryugu on June 27, after which the spacecraft remained at a distance of about 20km (the Home Position) to continue to observe the asteroid. During this time, the spacecraft was maintaining a hovering altitude of 20km above the asteroid surface.
In the week of July 16, operations were begun to lower this hovering altitude, eventually bringing the spacecraft to less than 6km from the asteroid surface. One of the images taken at that time is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1:
Asteroid Ryugu from an altitude of 6km. Image was captured with the Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T) on July 20, 2018 at around 16:00 JST.
Image credit : JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.

※Please use the displayed credit when reproducing these images. In the case where an abbreviated form is necessary, please write "JAXA, University of Tokyo & collaborators".

Imaging Ryugu from an altitude of 6km

Jul. 17, 2018 Updated
Bremen Town Hall Exhibits Hayabusa2 and Mascot, July 10 to October 14

The Bremen City Hall, Bremen, Germany houses on exhibit the JAXA asteroid explorer Hayabusa2, and MASCOT, the onboard lander MASCOT, developed by DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, English: The German Aerospace Center) and CNES (The Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, English: French National Centre for Space Studies). The City Hall, UNESCO World Heritage Site accommodates the exhibits July 10 through October 14.
Home to thriving space and science researches, the city will hold the IAC (International Astronautical Congress), the world’s biggest space conference this October. DLR and private space businesses are teaming up for the country’s robust space industry.
Please visit the exhibit amid the richness of the history that the architecture offers.

At 9:35 am Japan Time, June 27, Hayabusa2 rendezvoused with Ryugu, the target asteroid. Keeping its 20-kilometer distance away from the asteroid, or its home position, Hayabusa2 is being confirmed of its function that performs future operations. MASCOT will land on the asteroid around October this year for observations of the surface using four instruments.

Jul. 4, 2018 Updated
Stereo image of asteroid Ryugu by Dr. Brian May

Brian May, the lead guitarist from the British rock band, Queen, has created a stereoscopic image of Ryugu from photographs captured with the ONC-T camera onboard Hayabusa2, so that the asteroid can be viewed in three dimensions. Brian May is an astronomer, with a doctoral degree in astrophysics from Imperial College London. He has a strong interest in planetary defense or space guard, which considers the potential threat to the Earth from meteorites. As part of this, May is a core member of "Asteroid Day", that began about three years ago to increase awareness of asteroids and action that can be taken to protect the Earth.

Figure:
Image to be used with red/blue stereo glasses.

Stereo image of asteroid Ryugu by Dr. Brian May

Jun. 29, 2018 Updated
Arrival at Ryugu!

1302 days after the launch from Tanegashima Space Center on December 3, 2014,
Hayabusa2 has fonally arrived at the target asteroid Ryugu. The arrival time was 9:35 am JST on June 27, 2018. From here, we can begin to fully explore Ryugu.

After the end of the ion engine operation on June 3, 2018, Hayabusa2 began the final asteroid approach phase. Optical navigation was used to precisely aim for the asteroid’s location. During the approach, the chemical propulsion thrusters were used to perform nine Trajectory Correction Maneuvers (TCM) to control the velocity of the spacecraft, with a tenth TCM made at the above time for arrival. After the final TCM10, the relative speed between Hayabusa2 and Ryugu was 1 cm/s or less and arrival at the asteroid was declared.

Arrival at Ryugu!

Figure: Group photo commemorating arrival at Ryugu. This is our triumphant pose (known as the "guts pose" / ガッツポーズ in Japanese).

Jun. 25, 2018 Updated
Asteroid Ryugu seen from a distance of around 40km

Hayabusa2 is close to arriving at asteroid Ryugu. After a journey of around 3.2 billion km since launch, our destination is finally near. Two small objects will soon meet in outer space 280 million km from the Earth.

Figure :
Asteroid Ryugu photographed by the ONC-T on June 24, 2018 at around 00:01 JST.
Credit : JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST

Asteroid Ryugu seen from a distance of around 40km

Jun. 19, 2018 Updated
Ryugu seen from 330-240km

The ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic) captured images of Ryugu on June 17, 2018 at around 15:00 JST and June 18 at around 06:00 JST. At 15:00 JST on June 17, the distance to Ryugu was approximately 330 km, which had decreased to 240 km by June 18 at 06:00 JST.

The following figures show the original images taken by the ONC-T, without any pixel smoothing. The order of the photographs is not chronological, but show the sequential rotation of the asteroid. The change in distance is compensated by keeping the size of the asteroid constant through the image set.

Ryugu seen from 330-240km

Jun. 16, 2018 Updated
From a distance of about 700km, Ryugu's rotation was observed.

Using the ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic), asteroid Ryugu was photographed continuously from June 14, 2018 at around 21:00 JST through to June 15, 2018 at around 05:10 JST. Figure 1 shows a looped animation of the 52 captured images.

The distance to Ryugu when the images were captured was between about 700 - 650 km. In these photographs, Ryugu is approximately 12 - 13 pixels in diameter. The animation in Figure 1 shows the photographs after image processing has been performed to smooth between the pixels so that the asteroid’s surface looks smooth.

From a distance of about 700km, Ryugu's rotation was observed.

Jun. 14, 2018 Updated
Ryugu seen from a distance of 920km

Hayabusa2 is steadily approaching asteroid Ryugu. Figure 1 shows a photograph of Ryugu taken on June 13, 2018 with the ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera-Telescopic) from a distance of about 920km. The celestial body shining brightly in the center of the frame is Ryugu. The movement of Ryugu (in comparison to the background stars) can be seen by comparing this image with those taken on June 6 and June 10. The brightness of Ryugu is now about -6.6 mag (astronomical magnitude: a logarithmic scale for the apparent brightness for an object).

Ryugu seen from a distance of 920km

Jun. 7, 2018 Updated
Ryugu seen from a distance of 2600km

On June 3, 2018, ion engine operation was completed and the final approach to the asteroid begun. By photographing the asteroid with the Optical Navigation Camera, optical navigation (precisely “hybrid navigation using optical and radiometric observations”) can be used to approach Ryugu while accurately estimating the trajectory of the spacecraft and asteroid.

Ryugu seen from a distance of 2600km

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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