Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now Join Now!

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

   Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Hayabusa update: Traverse to night-side approach successful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

26-03-2010 11:27 CDT

Topics: Hayabusa (MUSES-C), mission status

There's a new update on the JAXA website from Junichiro Kawaguchi indicating that 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. (There's more detail on this maneuver in my last Hayabusa post.)

Hayabusa's instantaneous trajectory -- that is, the course it would take if the spacecraft died today -- has it approaching within about 13,000 kilometers of Earth's cloud tops. That's one Earth diameter, folks; the long journey is almost over. "The delta-V left is very small, and on 27th, Hayabusa will complete its long ion engine propulsion from last spring," Kawaguchi writes. That's tomorrow! "What is left is a series of trajectory corrections and the project team is finalizing the preparations for them."

Then it'll just be watch and wait until June 13, when the sample return capsule lands in the Australian desert, and the hardworking carrier spacecraft burns up in Earth's atmosphere. Only then will we find out whether the capsule actually contains any grains of dust from asteroid Itokawa. If so, it'll be the first sample return from the surface of any body beyond our own Moon.

 
See other posts from March 2010

 

Or read more blog entries about: Hayabusa (MUSES-C), mission status

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Mars Orbiter Mission at Mars

Capture the flag
SpaceX Dragon Version 2
Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, September 2014
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Fly to an Asteroid!

Travel to Bennu on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft!

Send your name

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!