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Blog Archive


Hayabusa: Waiting

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/10 09:08 CDT

We're in the final days of the Hayabusa mission, but until Sunday I think we're in a state of "no news is good news."

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Hayabusa's final approach on target; Japan's ready to receive samples

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/09 12:34 CDT

Hayabusa's final maneuver, a three-hour "firing" of its ion thrusters to fine-tune the spacecraft's trajectory toward Australia, was successful.

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A brief history of Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/08 09:17 CDT

For those of you who found my Hayabusa mission recap too long, here's a graphical version of the history of the Hayabusa mission.

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Hayabusa: "I did my best!"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/08 02:26 CDT

While he was in Japan to observe IKAROS' sail deployment, Lou Friedman couldn't help but notice the country's excitement over the impending return of Hayabusa.

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Six days left for Hayabusa: A recap of the mission

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/07 05:27 CDT

The Hayabusa spacecraft is about to die. On Sunday, June 13, at 14:00 UTC, Hayabusa will burn up in Earth's atmosphere, bringing its dramatic seven-year mission to an end.

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Taking things slowly with IKAROS sail deployment

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/06/05 12:30 CDT

Planetary Society Executive Director Lou Friedman was at JAXA's Japanese Space Exploration Center to observe the deployment of IKAROS' solar sails.

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Sighting the homeworld

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/05/17 11:40 CDT

Coming closer every day, Mr. Hayabusa has sighted his final destination: his homeworld, Earth, and its attendant Moon.

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Anticipating the end of Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/23 02:08 CDT

A successful sample return for the Hayabusa mission will mean the fiery death of Mr. Hayabusa himself. The poignancy of this is not lost upon the people in Japan who are following the mission.

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More detail on the Hayabusa return timeline

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/22 04:25 CDT

JAXA has issued a notice with a little bit more detail on the timeline for Hayabusa's return to Earth.

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Hayabusa's coming home

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/21 10:12 CDT

It really looks like Hayabusa is going to make it home. Hayabusa's sample return capsule will be returning to Earth on June 13, 2010, landing in the Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia at about 14:00 UTC.

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Hayabusa update: a little east of Pollux

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/04/12 11:45 CDT

The first of what will be five trajectory correction maneuvers (TCMs) is "successfully completed," according to an update posted to the JAXA website.

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Hayabusa update: Traverse to night-side approach successful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/26 11:27 CDT

Hayabusa's mission team has successfully shifted the little spacecraft's approach trajectory from the day side to the night side of Earth, a critical maneuver for the survival of the sample return capsule.

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Hayabusa update: Last modifications to Earth return trajectory

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/03/23 01:09 CDT

An update on Hayabusa posted to the JAXA website by project manager Junichiro Kawaguchi.

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Hayabusa on the home stretch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/12/17 07:49 CST

Hayabusa is still 100 million kilometers from the Earth, less than an astronomical unit away but still with months to travel. But according to an update posted to their websitethis morning by project manager Junichiro Kawaguchi, Hayabusa is on the home stretch.

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Hayabusa's still coming home: JAXA engineers come up with yet another creative solution

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/19 11:16 CST

Trouble has come time and again to JAXA's little Hayabusa asteroid sample return mission, yet the mission's engineers always come up with new and creative ways to solve problems.

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Hayabusa stumbles on the path back to Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/11/11 11:19 CST

JAXA issued a press release (in Japanese) on November 9 stating that one of Hayabusa's ion thrusters, thruster D, had stopped operating. Hayabusa launched with four ion thrusters, but D was one of only two that are still functioning. So the failure of thruster D is a serious problem.

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Exciting Times Ahead: 2010 Will Sizzle, and 2011 Will Really Cook!

Posted by Alan Stern on 2009/05/18 03:56 CDT

Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.

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There's more to the Hayabusa story

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/02/07 06:09 CST

After posting my brief "Hooray for Hayabusa" note on Thursday I got an email from the Japanese blogger "5thstar," telling me that there was more to Hayabusa's story.

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Hooray for Hayabusa!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/02/04 07:18 CST

According to JAXA (the Japanese space agency), poor little Hayabusa has successfully restarted its ion engine and has resumed powered flight today. Hooray! This is good news for Hayabusa's eventual return to Earth.

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Hayabusa update

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/06/01 11:48 CDT

JAXA has posted a note on their website on the status of Hayabusa, which apparently reached aphelion in late May. Hayabusa is Japan's amazing ion-powered mission to asteroid Itokawa, which touched down on Itokawa to grab a sample in mid-November 2005, but suffered an injury that has left in doubt its ability to return the sample capsule to Earth.

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