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Hayabusa stumbles on the path back to Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2009

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.

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

Alan Stern • May 18, 2009

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.

There's more to the Hayabusa story

Emily Lakdawalla • February 07, 2009

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.

Hooray for Hayabusa!

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2009

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.

Hayabusa update

Emily Lakdawalla • June 01, 2008

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.

"Return of the Falcon," a new animation of the Hayabusa mission

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2007

JAXA has released a 30-minute video of the Hayabusa mission, "Return of the Falcon," combining computer animation with actual footage of the construction and launch as well as images from the spacecraft of Itokawa.

LPSC: Friday: Hayabusa

Emily Lakdawalla • March 20, 2006

The audience was rapt as Project Manager Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi stood up to give an introduction to the Hayabusa spacecraft and described the saga of the mission to date.

Thruster trouble for Hayabusa

Emily Lakdawalla • November 29, 2005

Hayabusa has been riding an incredible wave of luck lately, resulting in the dramatic success of the sample grab last week. But it looks as though Hayabusa's luck may be running out.

A gap in the Hayabusa telemetry, as the Earth rotates

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2005

If I understand the various sources(and my somewhat vague memory) correctly, it now appears that Earth has rotated far enough to take the Deep Space Network station at Goldstone, through which Hayabusa has been transmitting, out of line with Hayabusa.

Closer still to Itokawa

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2005

Hayabusa reached an altitude of about 560 meters above Hayabusa at 17:30 UTC. And at 18:00 UTC they are at 500 meters. This is still farther above the asteroid than the asteroid is big...there is still a long way to go before Hayabusa touches down...

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