View Full Version : HAYABUSA mission

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2005-Jan-27, 05:49 PM
Hi all,

Anyone know much about how this mission is going? It is due to rendevous with the asteroid Itokawa (1998SF36) sometime in the next few months, however the JAXA website has very little information on how it is going.




2005-Jan-27, 06:25 PM
Going strong as of December 30. (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=15798)

2005-Jan-27, 07:13 PM
From the page ToSeek linked to:

The telemetry bit rate is also gradually falling, so that the operation team feels helpless.

Um, going strong, but is it going well?


2005-Jan-27, 07:30 PM
From the page ToSeek linked to:

The telemetry bit rate is also gradually falling, so that the operation team feels helpless.

Um, going strong, but is it going well?


That could just be a distance effect. It's hard to tell if that's an actual problem or not.

2005-Jul-08, 08:09 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update July 7, 2005:

Distance from Earth : 366,895,884km
Distance from Itokawa : 143,098km

NASA: Current Missions to Asteroids: Hayabusa (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/profile.cfm?MCode=MUSES):

Oct 2005: Arrival at Asteroid Itokawa
Jun 2007: Sample Return to Earth
Status: En Route to Asteroid Itokawa

MSNBC/Oberg, June 7, 2005 article: Japan shoots for a piece of an asteroid (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8131678/)

Hayabusa is approaching at a relative speed of 225 mph (100 meters per second) and is firing its gentle but exceedingly persistent engine to further slow its speed. [...] The probe is now expected to arrive at its "home station" stand-off position early in September.

2005-Jul-08, 08:35 AM
From the page ToSeek linked to:

The telemetry bit rate is also gradually falling, so that the operation team feels helpless.

Um, going strong, but is it going well?


I don't know, I read through the page in Japanese, and there was nothing there to indicate any problem. The only thing that seems possibly to connect to this is that apparently at some stage the craft will begin to do auto-guidance or something like that. Who know, maybe that was what they were referring to. But from the Japanese content, it seems clear that everything is going well. Apparently they had a meeting in June with American experts to exchange information and plans.

2005-Jul-24, 08:05 AM
Less than 100 thousand km.

JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/07/21:

Distance from Earth : 359,017,902km
Distance from Itokawa : 97,614km

2005-Aug-02, 02:14 PM
Out of conjuction with Sun and resumed normal operations.

JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/08/01

Distance from Earth : 351,748,780km
Distance from Itokawa : 63,080km

2005-Aug-09, 09:38 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/08/17

Distance from Earth : 340,226,152km
Distance from Itokawa : 20,199km

Hayabusa performed the Star Tracker imaging of Itokawa on July 29-30, August 8-9 and August 12. Totally, 24 images were taken and the hybrid navigation combining both radio and optical measurement was performed and the results came out enough well to guide the spacecraft making a final approach to the object.

2005-Aug-22, 04:37 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/08/22

Distance from Earth : 336,512,020km
Distance from Itokawa : 11,320km

2005-Aug-22, 10:14 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/08/22

Distance from Earth : 336,512,020km
Distance from Itokawa : 11,320km

More info at

The plan is to become stationary wrt Itokawa in mid September.

2005-Aug-23, 05:12 PM
Ambitious mission hopes to return bits of asteroid (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0508/22hayabusa/)

Slowly pulling alongside a space rock the size of several typical city blocks, a Japanese probe is preparing to begin scooping the first dusty samples of material from the surface of an asteroid this fall for an eventual return to Earth.

Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft is halfway through a four-year $100 million mission to chase down a small celestial target, retrieve pieces of its rocky crust, and return them safely to Earth in a capsule designed to survive the intense heat as it enters the atmosphere and parachutes to a safe landing.

2005-Aug-29, 06:25 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/08/29

Distance from Earth : 331,178,810km
Distance from Itokawa : 4,040km

The orbit maneuver of HAYABUSA spacecraft was handed over from the ion engines to the bi-propellant thrusters on August 28 JST.
Accomplishment of HAYABUSA’s outward journey by ion engines (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/0829.shtml)

At the end of August HAYABUSA stays 4,800km (3,000 mi.) apart from Asteroid ITOKAWA and is still closing it at 32km/h (20 mph) velocity with the ion engines off. HAYABUSA asteroid explorer, launched on May 9 2003, has executed the orbit maneuver using the microwave discharge ion engines, which established 25,800 hours the total numbers of space operational time to generate 1,400m/s delta-V with 22kg (49 lb) xenon propellant.
One of four engines marked the accumulated operational time 10,400 hours.

2005-Sep-02, 07:46 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

I can't really tell what's going on, news-wise. The English page seems to have slipped into Japanese. I can read the distances, though.

Last update 2005/09/02

Distance from Earth 327,240,550km
Distance from Itokawa 1,550km

The parent page, Hayabusa Mission Page (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/index.shtml), is still OK.

2005-Sep-02, 12:21 PM
As an aside, why was this mission named "Hayabusa"? The same word is used for a Yamaha motorbike, and that is alleged to be so named after the japanese for "Peregrine Falcon". Good name for a powerful bike, so for an ion drive probe?

2005-Sep-02, 03:45 PM
As an aside, why was this mission named "Hayabusa"? The same word is used for a Yamaha motorbike, and that is alleged to be so named after the japanese for "Peregrine Falcon". Good name for a powerful bike, so for an ion drive probe?

Because it will swoop down and take a sample.

SpaceDaily: Hayabusa Aims For Asteroid Sample Return (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/japan-muses-c-04a.html)

When it finally launched, the MUSES-C spacecraft was named Hayabusa - "Peregrine Falcon." This bird of prey is known for its ability to swoop down and snatch up its prey in its talons - a maneuver that some see as similar to the plans for Hayabusa, to seize samples of the asteroid's surface.

2005-Sep-02, 08:06 PM
Nice one, 105!

2005-Sep-02, 11:32 PM

A little known fact is that this is a manned mission. After all, look at the spacecraft here: http://www.nzfpm.co.nz/former/ki43i.htm



Regards, tbm

2005-Sep-02, 11:42 PM
A little known fact is that this is a manned mission. After all, look at the spacecraft here: http://www.nzfpm.co.nz/former/ki43i.htm

That's no man in the Hayabusa. It's one of those Japanese androids (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4714135.stm).

2005-Sep-03, 09:39 AM
As an aside, why was this mission named "Hayabusa"? The same word is used for a Yamaha motorbike, and that is alleged to be so named after the japanese for "Peregrine Falcon". Good name for a powerful bike, so for an ion drive probe?

Actually its a Suzuki not a Yamaha. The closest thing from Yamaha is the R1. Both are really nice machines and have plenty of power/torque. The main reason it got it's name is for the speed and that the previous best was from Honda: the Blackbird. Manufacturers it seems are competitive even in the names of their bikes :lol:
Its currently the fastest mass produced motorcycle in the world (last I checked). At just over 300kph (190mph).
er.... back to the probe :D

2005-Sep-04, 07:56 PM
The Hayabusa website does not seem to have a section for daily updates or press releases, so I guess we have to just wait. They are very close to the asteroid now (by usual standards), but that rock is *very* small. I expect the asteroid will probably be one solid chip blasted from a larger object... but soon such idle speculation will end, and we'll know what it looks like (if JAXA is willing to share its images).

2005-Sep-05, 06:07 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

(Yay. The page reverted from Japanese back to English.)

Last update 2005/09/05

Distance from Earth : 324,863,500km
Distance from Itokawa : 750km

2005-Sep-06, 06:44 PM
After Long Trek, Unsung Japanese Spacecraft Nears Asteroid Target (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/asteroid-05i.html)

Rivals from the United States and Europe get the bigger headlines and bigger budgets, but a little-noticed Japanese mission to a distant space rock may scoop them all.

Launched to the world's near-total indifference on May 9 2003, the little probe Hayabusa ("Falcon") is now on the brink of rendezvousing with a 630-metre (yard) asteroid on a mission that could prove historic.

If all goes well, Hayabusa will be the first spacecraft to bring home raw material from an asteroid, part of the primeval rubble left over from the making of the Solar System.

2005-Sep-06, 06:58 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/09/05

Distance from Earth : 324,908,350km
Distance from Itokawa : 500km

Kullat Nunu
2005-Sep-06, 09:54 PM
Hayabusa Successfully Captures The Shape of Asteroid Itokawa (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17736)

Kullat Nunu
2005-Sep-07, 08:07 AM
Hayabusa detects Itokawa's rotation (http://www.hayabusa.isas.jaxa.jp/e/index.html)


2005-Sep-07, 02:42 PM
Hayabusa Successfully Captures The Shape of Asteroid Itokawa (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17736)

Like a peanut?

2005-Sep-08, 08:54 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/09/08

Distance from Earth : 323,488,100km
Distance from Itokawa : 175km

2005-Sep-08, 06:46 PM
At 11AM Tokyo time 08 Sep Hayabusa was 175 km away and closing at 10 km/hr. So, the craft should be there now, or in the next couple of hours. How long do you think it will be before we here something specific about the manuever and success?

Kullat Nunu
2005-Sep-09, 06:45 AM
Surface details are becoming visible.

Images are from September 4th, 6th and 7th (raw and processed), respectively:

http://www.jaxa.jp/missions/projects/sat/exploration/muses_c/img/topics_20050909_1.jpg http://www.jaxa.jp/missions/projects/sat/exploration/muses_c/img/topics_20050909_2.jpg
http://www.jaxa.jp/missions/projects/sat/exploration/muses_c/img/topics_20050909_3.jpg http://www.jaxa.jp/missions/projects/sat/exploration/muses_c/img/topics_20050909_4.jpg

Weird piece of rock.

2005-Sep-09, 01:31 PM
Another Idaho Spud!

2005-Sep-09, 02:03 PM
Another Idaho Spud!

I kind of thought that Eros looked like a dance shoe, or a slipper.
But yes, so far, this one looks like a potato.

2005-Sep-10, 06:38 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/09/10

Distance from Earth : 321,978,150km
Distance from Itokawa : 47km

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Sep-11, 01:00 AM
Actually, I'm starting to wonder about all the spuds out there. It seems to be a more common shape than I would have expected. I have a friend who studies such things; I'll ask him.

2005-Sep-11, 09:48 AM
This spud's for you.

Itokawa Image on September 10 (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/0911.shtml)

From about 30 km:

http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/image/0911.jpg (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/0911.shtml)

2005-Sep-11, 01:55 PM
I see this asteroid has some areas that are buried in dust, and some areas that stick out above the tiny sea of dust. It's interesting to see that even tiny asteroids like this (a few hundred meters across) have this nature.

I'm looking forward to seeing much more detailed images soon. The Hayabua team is releasing images with a little bit of delay (a day or two), but they are releasing sone interesting images. Thanks.

2005-Sep-12, 05:06 PM
Latest Itokawa Image Reveals A Strange Asteroid With Few Craters (http://www.spacedaily.com/news/asteroid-05m.html)

Hayabusa continues approaching Itokawa, and its image is growing day by day. This image was taken at 15:00 UTC on September 10 by the visible imager, AMICA.

The distance now from Hayabusa to Itokawa is approximately 30km.

2005-Sep-12, 06:21 PM
Hayabusa arrives. Congratulations to Japan, JAXA, the team, and the spacecraft!

JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/09/10

Distance from Earth : 320,498,100km
Distance from Itokawa : 20km

Hayabusa has pulled to a stop at 20 km from Itokawa.

http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/image/0912_topics.gif (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/0912.shtml)

Color coming soon.

The velocity dropped down to zero around 01:17 UTC. [The Doppler velocity difference data] indicates that Hayabusa fired its chemical propulsion thruster so that the relative velocity was canceled.

2005-Sep-12, 09:30 PM
That looks like an ugly piece of dust-covered stuff. I'm looking forward to the detailed images. I was thinking this thing was a shattered piece that escpaed when the moon was formed. Maybe it is, but now looking at it, I'm not so sure. I wonder how it got to look this way?

2005-Sep-13, 02:08 AM
That looks like an ugly piece of dust-covered stuff. I'm looking forward to the detailed images. I was thinking this thing was a shattered piece that escpaed when the moon was formed. Maybe it is, but now looking at it, I'm not so sure. I wonder how it got to look this way?

Maybe not beautiful in human terms, but to other asteroids, that may be one very beautiful one! It's one of those questions I sometimes wonder about when I see bulldogs, or pigs, for example.

2005-Sep-13, 04:34 PM
Space.com: Japanese Space Probe Reaches Asteroid (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/050912_hayabusa_update.html)

The Japanese space probe Hayabusa has approached within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of its target, asteroid Itokawa (1998 SF36).

Scientists at Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) have been monitoring the day-by-day closing in on the asteroid by their craft. ISAS is a research arm of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

ISAS scientists report that images taken by Hayabusa show a contrast of rocky and hilly regions and a smooth area on the asteroid. Further analysis of the imagery and other data may help decipher the origin and evolution of the asteroid.

Sky and Telescope: Hayabusa Arrives at Asteroid Itokawa (http://skyandtelescope.com/news/article_1590_1.asp)

For the next two weeks the spacefraft will maintain its 20-km standoff distance on the asteroid's sunlit side, moving inward to just 7 km away by month's end, to map the entire surface as Itokawa slowly rotates every 12.1 hours. In addition to its Asteroid Multiband Imaging Camera (AMICA), which records light at seven visible and infrared wavelengths, Hayabusa carries a laser altimeter to measure surface heights and two spectrometers to analyze mineral compositions. Initial images from the camera show that Itokawa is about 600 meters long and very elongated, appearing much as expected from ground-based scrutiny.

2005-Sep-14, 02:55 AM
Way to go Japan. JOTO

2005-Sep-14, 10:50 AM
I for one welcome our new Potato overlords and their mascot, Spuds MacKenzie!


Meanwhile, congrats to JAXA et al on a successful mission so far. And it is interesting that this shape should be so predominant. I was expecting to see more in the way of rutabagas, eggplants, and onions.

2005-Sep-15, 08:22 AM
Color composite (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/0915.shtml) (of a mostly gray object):

http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/image/0915_topics.jpg (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/0915.shtml)

2005-Sep-15, 09:36 AM
I had been waiting for some time for more news on Hayabusa & at long last iy has arrived! During this week the probe has sent back several images as it came close to the asteroid Itokawa.

This small probe has taken some excellent images & the on going scientific investigations should help us to understand more about the composition of asteroids.

Congratulations to the Japanese team responsible for Hayabusa! :)

2005-Sep-18, 02:35 AM
It looks like a big clod of dirt, much like the ones I used to see in my garden. But I think this is the smallest asteroid, (clodoid?) we've encountered with a spaceprode.

2005-Sep-27, 05:02 PM
Japanese Asteroid Probe Readied to Make History (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/050927_hayabusa_update.html)

Japan's Hayabusa space probe is poised to edge closer to asteroid Itokawa – a move that sets the stage for an historic attempt to sample and return a specimen to Earth from such an object.

Images taken by the spacecraft of Itokawa are already puzzling scientists.

2005-Sep-27, 05:42 PM
Yes, but for some reason JAXA is not releasing more images.

2005-Sep-28, 05:26 PM
Minerva travels by leaping, using its own momentum by accelerating a weight inside itself.

I really hope this is successful. It is a great test of the gravitational physics involved...

2005-Sep-30, 02:55 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/09/29

Distance from Earth : 308,553,050km
Distance from Itokawa : 10km
Station Keeping History of Hayabusa to Itokawa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/0929.shtml)

[...]the station keeping has been carried out satisfactorily. Next week, Hayabusa lowers its altitude to the Home Position, where this task will be much harder due to the high sensitivity. The operation team will continue making an intensive effort to accomplish the proximity observation.
HAYABUSA Data (2005/09/14 "Hayabusa arrived at Itokawa") (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/data_050914.shtml) indicates Home Position is around 7 km distance.

2005-Sep-30, 05:40 PM
Quick-look observes a large absorbtion around one micro-meter. This is estimated primarily due to olivine or pyroxene in the surface material

It not only looks like Temple I, Itokawa may have similar composition.

Hat's off to JAXA - they do not seem to be at all bashful about immediately sharing engineering and scientific data!

2005-Oct-05, 05:18 PM
Hayabusa arrives at Home Position (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1004.shtml) (Dial-up folks be warned: there are a bunch of large images of Powerpoint slides here.)

Sampling to take place in November.

2005-Oct-06, 09:52 AM
The difference between the resolution in the two images - one from 20km & the other from just 7km is very noticible! This must be easily the best image ever taken to date of the surface of an astroid!

Congatulations to all the Japanese personnel involved in this incredible project.

I hope the lander is able to collect the samples & return them safely to the laboratories for their analysis on Earth.

2005-Oct-06, 10:29 AM
This must be easily the best image ever taken to date of the surface of an astroid!

I also congradulate JAXA, but would like to point to the many very close images taken of EROS by the NEAR spacecraft as better resulution than this.

2005-Oct-06, 12:33 PM
Unfortunately the mission hit a snag (https://www.space.com/missionlaunches/051005_hayabusa_update.html), hopefully the sampler will be able fulfill it's task, fingers crossed.

Btw the JAXA website mentions that no more images will be released in order
to retain the scientifc output built inside the science team(?)

More details and images can be found here (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1004.shtml).


2005-Oct-06, 06:16 PM
Sigh. Bouncing around like a yoyo between two RCS engines will make it difficult to obtain tight mass constraints, and it may prove impossible to grab a sample.

Why didn't the Enterprise or the Millennial Falcon ever have trouble with reaction wheels? Everything else seems to.

2005-Oct-06, 07:07 PM
I am really looking forward to the deployment of the Minerva lander. I heard that the only other "hopper" robot was one that accompanied the ill-fated Russian Phobos-2 mission. Minerva will be a good test to see just how well these things work.

Say, what does the Minerva lander look like? I have seen two different designs. The cylinder one appears in more images. Is that the one they actually sent up?


Also, this page here has a description of how it works, except it is in japanese:

How does its propulsion system work? It moves by accelerating a weight inside itself. But, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So... How does that work?

Oh. And you know... The Japanese really love robots... They have an incredible fascination with them... There's a conspiracy theory going around that they gave Minerva a new, highly advanced form of AI... And that it will be able to evolve. Better itself. Increase in numbers... In fact... When the Minervas decide to invade earth... This is the image we will have permanently burned into our minds:


On a more serious note... Here is a video of Minerva in operation. It behaves in a way that does not make rational sense for me. I mean, from the diagram I linked to above, it seems like this thing achieves motion through a sort of rotating weight. A gyro. And, gyros can keep spacecraft orientated - but they can't accelerate them! So what is different here? (video at bottom of this page)

(edit again)

A great little english PDF about the Minerva rover.

"It will be deployed onto the surface immediately before the spacecraft touches the asteroid to aquire some fragments. After the deployment, it will autonomously move over the surface by hopping for a couple of days and the obtained data on multiple places are transmitted to the Earth via the mother spacecraft while HAYABUSA remains near the asteroid before the departure for the earth."

"The MINERVA rover has the mobility which is specialized in hopping. By rotating a torquer inside the rover, a reaction force against the surface makes it hop. The hop speed is largely dependent on the actuated torque. So it can be roughly controlled aboard, but not so precisely because the hop speed is also affected by the friction between the rover and the surface which can not be predicted. Depending on the friction coefficient, a maximum speed of 9[cm/s] can be attained using the selected torque."

So, it is completely autonomous with no direct control from the earth. Its movements will be fairly random, and it uses a torquer to move. Also, the cylindrical version is the flight model of Minerva. Fascinating little robot - it's only 519g!


2005-Oct-07, 04:01 AM
It's basically a Mexican jumping bean: A force is exerted downward and Newton picks up Minerva on the rebound. I don't know how it will behave if Itokowa is covered with find dust, like Tempel 1. Maybe it will just snuggle in. Quicksand?

2005-Oct-07, 04:23 AM
No, thats just it. There is a wheel inside of Minerva, that spins, generating friction against the inside of the vehicle itself, and this starts the entire thing into a spin, which propels it forward. Watch the video, and look at the pictures. It doesnt simply throw a weight downward, and get propelled upwards. If it did, it would make a ton more sense to me.


2005-Oct-07, 01:48 PM
It does seem a little strange, but I think I understand it. You could do the same thing on Earth by having a cylinder lying on its side with a gyro inside it. Spin up the gyro, and the cylinder will start to roll in the other direction. I'm assuming that momentum is conserved by the Earth (or asteroid) moving very slightly in the opposite direction.

2005-Oct-07, 04:29 PM
But this thing is meant to hop "great distances" accross the asteroid. Actually propel itself into the 'air'. Not just rolling across the ground. Sorry, I'm sure you understand it, but I'm still having trouble grasping my mind around it.


2005-Oct-07, 04:54 PM
Keep in mind that Hayabusa's gravity is so low that you could probably propel yourself to escape velocity just by sneezing. The energy needed for a tiny hop on Earth could take you tens of meters on Hayabusa.

2005-Oct-07, 06:10 PM
Even using jerry-rigged physics, it takes equal and opposite forces to hop on a gravimetrically binding surface. A gyroscope-like torque would have to flex or torqure the housing slightly to initiate the hop. (Otherwise, souped-up 'People Movers' would be levatating by now, not to mention flying carpets)

2005-Oct-08, 04:32 PM
Moderator: merged in from separate thread, link has additional info.

Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft, designed to collect a sample from an asteroid and return it to Earth, has lost the second of its three "reaction wheels".

From the BBC website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4316162.stm)

2005-Oct-08, 06:19 PM
Even using jerry-rigged physics, it takes equal and opposite forces to hop on a gravimetrically binding surface. A gyroscope-like torque would have to flex or torqure the housing slightly to initiate the hop. (Otherwise, souped-up 'People Movers' would be levatating by now, not to mention flying carpets)

I'm not sure that's necessarily true, but it probably does, anyhow, as the torque presses the side of the probe against the asteroid.

2005-Oct-19, 05:37 PM
There is an update of the Jax site, but I don't see any new information. (Posted to keep the Haybus from falling off the radar - there should be new stuff soon)

Speaking of falling off the radar, I don't even remember the name of the Japanese/American Xray camera that lost its supercool. Where is the thread?

2005-Oct-26, 10:33 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/10/25(JST)

Distance from Earth : 294,651,680km
Distance from Itokawa : 4.5km

(It looks like they are finally creeping a little closer.)

Orbital Evolution of Asteroid Itokawa (http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/snews/2005/1026.shtml) (via JAXA Space News (http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/snews/))


Itokawa existed in the inner part in the asteroid belt, and it was in a certain resonant state or in the region where the orbit crosses that of Mars.

Itokawa is in an orbit that approaches the earth and Mars. The orbit motion is strongly chaotic and we can trace its orbit only for about 200 years.

Itokawa most probably collides to Sun or planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars). In a small probability, it remains alive more than 100 million years, or its orbit becomes larger than that of Jupiter. The probability of the collision to the earth is about once in one million years.

2005-Oct-27, 01:57 PM

HAYABUSA Mission In Progress, getting attention around the world
HAYABUSA will showcase its leading-edge planetary-probe technology to the world.

The photo of the opposition surge is impressive...I wish they would publish more detail as this clever and exciting mission progresses - how are the reaction wheels behaving?

2005-Oct-28, 03:09 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/10/27(JST)

Distance from Earth : 293,869,920 km
Distance from Itokawa : 3.4km

*The tour for a global mapping has been completed.
*Returned to the initial point of the HP.
*Detailed observations on sampling site candidates start.
(This data and that in other articles, courtesy of JAXA, per their Web Data Citation Policy (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/policy.shtml)! Thank you, JAXA.)

Hayabusa succeeded to observe the "opposition surge" of Itokawa! (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1027_itokawa.shtml)

The phase angle was abour 35 degrees for the left image and less than 1 degree for the right image. The Hayabusa camera team confirmed the "oposition surge" through careful inspection of these images.

2005-Nov-01, 07:40 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/10/31(JST)

Distance from Earth : 292,449,880 km
Distance from Itokawa : 3.8km

first day of preparation for a rehearsal of touchdown
Current Status of Hayabusa, October 27 (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1027.shtml)

In order that the flight can be carried out and completed until the return to the Earth, the fuel consumption required for stabilizing the attitude has to be reduced, and a strenuous effort has been poured to devise the strategy including a number of firing tests in vacuum on the ground. A new control scheme making the firing impulse enough small has now been developed assuring the attitude control resolution to be well managed. [...] The Hayabusa project team concluded the flight operation until the return to the Earth is feasibly performed, as long as the existing instruments and hardware aboard continue working normally as they are.

The proximity operation assumed in November next month consists of one Rehearsal Descent plus two Touching-downs for sampling. They are scheduled as follows:

Rehearsal Descent November 4th,
1st Touching-down for sampling November 12th,
2nd Touching-down for sampling November 25th.
November 1 update (from JAXA Space News (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005.shtml)), including picture of Itokawa, with detailed topography due to low sun angle: All around a small world! (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1101.shtml)

2005-Nov-01, 11:21 PM

It's exciting!
(It's Japanese, English one maybe come soon!)

2005-Nov-02, 04:31 AM
Really starting to look like a rubble pile.

2005-Nov-02, 08:37 AM
(It's Japanese, English one maybe come soon!)

This seems to be the English version (with the same great pictures):

Hayabusa's Scientific and Engineering Achievements during Proximity Operations around Itokawa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1102.shtml)

The first site candidate is the regolith expanse in the middle of Itokawa, known as the MUSES-SEA area (Fig. 11), and the second candidate site is the Woomera desert (Fig. 12)at the tip end of Itokawa, where the terrain is broad and flat. The rehearsal target is the area located close to the spin axis, a little east of the first site. The date and time of the planned events (Japan Standard Time) are listed below.

1. Rehearsal Descent November, 4th, 14 o'clock,
2. 1st Touch-down November, 12th, 15 o'clock,
3. 2nd Touch-down November, 25th, 15 o'clock.

2005-Nov-02, 09:32 PM
It makes me want to get out my old TONKA truck...

2005-Nov-03, 01:59 PM
This seems to be the English version (with the same great pictures):

Hayabusa's Scientific and Engineering Achievements during Proximity Operations around Itokawa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1102.shtml)

I went along for a look - it had been more than a week since my last visit - the images were certainly outstanding! (thanks for the link) They are so clear & full of detail. I think these images will help the Japanese team to decide where to set down their lander to scoop up some samples to be returned to Earth in the New Year.

I wish them all possible luck in their mission! I look forward to hearing about the results.

2005-Nov-03, 06:04 PM
Hayabusa probe prepares to punch an asteroid (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8259&feedId=online-news_rss20)

Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft is set to perform the first of three daring rendezvous with a small asteroid on Friday, as planetary scientists puzzle over close-up images of the space rock.

The probe has been hovering above the 600-metre-long asteroid Itokawa since 12 September 2005, mapping most of its surface to a resolution of less than 1 metre. Now, the spacecraft is preparing to carry out its dramatic scientific mission, which involves swooping down to the surface three times in order to return the first asteroid samples to Earth in 2007.

2005-Nov-03, 08:58 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/11/03 (JST)

Distance from Earth : 291,513,230 km
Distance from Itokawa : 3.0km
*The day before for a rehearsal of touchdown They have a link to LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS(JAXA) (http://jaxa.tv/) on the page, that so far has a blog with a couple test messages on it. From the looks of the URL it will also have control-room video of the touchdown rehearsal on November 4, 10:00-16:00 JST (01:00-07:00 GMT, Nov. 3 17:00-23:00 PST -- I think).

MINERVA explores the surface of ITOKAWA (http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/snews/2005/1103.shtml) is a one-page description of the Minerva rover:

Using the onboard camera of HAYABUSA, the best image surface resolution of ITOKAWA was 30 m during the global mapping phase and will be 1 - 2 cm during the touchdown operation. On the other hand, the cameras on MINERVA have a image resolution of less than 1 mm when they observe 10 cm distance objects and can observe minerals making up a rock.

Edit: The control-room blog (http://jaxa.tv/) is working. Descent has begun. At 15:30 PST they are within 2000 meters.

2005-Nov-04, 12:32 AM
1700 meters at 8:45 JST (15:45 PST, 18:45 EST, 11:45 GMT)

Edit: Almost 17:00 PST now and I see control-room video at LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS(JAXA) (http://jaxa.tv/)

Edit: At 17:50 PST, Hayabusa was at approximately 1000 meters. The blog includes a few (small) almost-live navigation images -- none as dramatic as the images recently published.

2005-Nov-04, 04:43 AM
A log message in Japanese leads me to believe the release of Minerva and the target marker might have been aborted. I can't puzzle out a reason except for "abnormality".

The fall which this day is to be planned inspected abnormality folds became the discontinuance the case of GO/NOGO judgement. Also Minerva discharge and target marker discharge became the discontinuance.

Oops. The English version was just posted:

Due to a detection of anomalous signal at GO/NOGO decision, today's descent, including release of MINERVA and the target marker has been canceled.

2005-Nov-04, 08:33 AM
Mainichi Daily News (AP): JAXA cancels practice for rendezvous with asteroid (http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20051104p2a00m0na018000c.html)

Japan's space agency canceled a rehearsal for a planned landing on an asteroid because of mechanical trouble with the space probe, but did not rule out a landing to collect samples from the asteroid's surface later this month, officials said Friday.
JAXA, the Japanese space agency, did not elaborate on the mechanical failure that scuttled the rehearsal.

2005-Nov-07, 05:51 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/11/06 (JST)

Distance from Earth : 290,689,380 km
Distance from Itokawa : 9.6km
*The spacecraft once ascended to a high altitude position.
*Now traveling to the initial point of the Home Position box.
There's a tiny bit more detail on the aborted rehearsal run:

JAXA Space News (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005.shtml):
Hayabusa’s Practice Descent (Rehearsal) on November 4th (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1104.shtml)

Down to about 700 meters in attitude, both attitude and trajectory control had been performed via Hayabusa’s proprietary autonomous guidance and navigation capability as planned. However, the onboard navigation computer detected anomalous information that did not satisfy the requirement, the abort command was transmitted from the ground at 03:30 GMT on November 4th. The subsequent events were all canceled and the spacecraft fired its chemical engines and started ascent.

When the operation ended from JAXA’s Usuda station, the radio communication to the spacecraft, the attitude control were all in order and the instruments aboard were all functioning normally.

Despite the interruption, the project team thinks that it obtained very important information through this practice descent flight, and that this practice does make the strategy stiffer.
Another rehearsal will be scheduled.

2005-Nov-07, 04:28 PM
Despite the interruption, the project team thinks that it obtained very important information through this practice descent flight, and that this practice does make the strategy stiffer.

Have they posted any new mass calculations?

2005-Nov-09, 09:23 PM
It seems that the JAXA team is going to go ahead with the proposed landings before the end of the month - so they can still make the rendezvous with Earth on time, essential for the safe return of the samples from Itokawa.

2005-Nov-10, 11:00 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/11/10 (JST)

Distance from Earth : 289,771,370 km
Distance from Itokawa : 4.5km
* 2 days before the descent for the touch-down test.
Looks like they're ready for another try at the descent test.

2005-Nov-11, 07:25 PM
Japan’s Asteroid Probe Cleared For Landing Attempt (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/051111_hayabusa_update.html)

Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft is on track to attempt a sampling of asteroid Itokawa on November 19.

In a rescheduled practice run on November 9, the craft has approached within 230 feet (70 meters) of the asteroid during a descent test that verified the probe’s guidance and navigation functions.

Engineers handling the Hayabusa spacecraft have clarified the issues that led to the cancellation of a November 4 landing rehearsal. An onboard navigation computer detected anomalous information during the practice run. The problem resulted in an abort command being transmitted to the probe by Earth controllers, thereby stopping the rehearsal. Subsequently, the spacecraft fired its chemical engines and started ascent, backing away from the asteroid.

2005-Nov-11, 07:47 PM
Amazing Hayabusa images (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000049/) from Ms. Emily at the Planetary Society

2005-Nov-11, 08:07 PM
JAXA ISAS Space News, November 11 (http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/)


Nov. 12: Rescheduled rehearsal for descending (Release the probing robot "Minerva")
Nov. 19: First sampling (Release the target marker with signatures)
Nov. 25: Second sampling
Video/log live from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS(JAXA) (http://jaxa.tv/) will operate Nov. 12, 10:00-16:00 JST (01:00-07:00 GMT; Nov. 11, 17:00-23:00 PST)

John L
2005-Nov-12, 12:32 AM
Hurray! My name is on that target and I wanted to make sure it ended up on that darn asteroid.

2005-Nov-12, 03:38 AM
Video/log live from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS(JAXA) (http://jaxa.tv/) will operate Nov. 12, 10:00-16:00 JST (01:00-07:00 GMT; Nov. 11, 17:00-23:00 PST)

It's moving in. At 10:45 JST it was at 800 meters.

They are putting up some small Itokawa images in the log. Nothing great, yet.

Edit: 12:30 JST, all equipment operating normally.

Edit: As of 1:00 pm, distance between Itokawa's center and Hayabusa is 430 meters.

Edit: 2:30 pm, 200 meters.

2005-Nov-12, 06:53 AM
Video/log live from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS(JAXA) (http://jaxa.tv/) will operate Nov. 12, 10:00-16:00 JST (01:00-07:00 GMT; Nov. 11, 17:00-23:00 PST)
2:45 pm JST: 120 meters. Now they've got a couple good images up, one showing the shadow of Hayabusa and a nice bright opposition effect around it.

2005-Nov-12, 06:58 AM
lots of tension/anticipation in the JAXA control room - people standing up and gathering....

2005-Nov-12, 07:14 AM
Hayabusa Live from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS(JAXA) (http://jaxa.tv/)

2:55 pm JST: hovering at 100 meters.

Yeah, I wish I knew what they are doing. Maybe the release of Minerva is soon.

2005-Nov-12, 07:47 AM
Hayabusa Live from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS(JAXA) (http://jaxa.tv/)

we confirmed that MINERVA (micro-rover) released at 3:24 pm (Hayabusa onboard time). Detailed condition are still investigating.

2005-Nov-12, 05:45 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/11/12 (JST)

Distance from Earth : 289,391,630 km
Distance from Itokawa : Returning to Home Position
*We performed the touch-down test with success.
*We were able to communicate with MINERVA after its release.
Space.com Japanese Asteroid Probe Deploys Micro-Robot (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/051112_haybusa_update.html)

[Planetary scientist Clark] Chapman said it will be exciting to see if the little MINERVA, which is designed to hop around Itokawa "like a Mexican jumping bean", will be successful and return good pictures and temperatures.

2005-Nov-12, 06:28 PM
Google Translation:

Until the separation " of Minerva " is done and is really separated, through ground control center, folds, in over ten minutes " it is quick the ぶ ", at the point in time when the position on the I To matte surface does, is separated the drift, as for altitude reaching to approximately 200m vicinity, regrettable as for leaving " Minerva " on the I To matte surface it seems that it is not possible.

Furthermore, " Minerva ", after that continuing, " is quick the ぶ ", with we continue to maintain communication, also circumstance of the on-board equipment is grasped. It is the schedule where one Japan and China, furthermore it examines, continues and continues to take the contact in detail. Details do to know, are to be, we communicate freshly.

So it sound like Minerva was released while Huyabusa was moving away from Itokawa and will likely drift off in space...

Edited to add: On first blush, this seems to indicate Huyabusa was converging on Itokowa too fast, and hit the panic button.

2005-Nov-12, 06:38 PM
I know Minerva was designed to transmit and receive from all directions, but I don't think sending it commands to 'hop' in space will accomplish much.

The fact that they seem to be having a difficult time controlling the rate of convergence does not bode well for the sample collecting.

2005-Nov-12, 08:42 PM
MSNBC: Asteroid-hopping robot misses its mark (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10013920/)

“The apparent loss of Minerva is a disappointment,” Louis Friedman, executive director of the California-based Planetary Society, said in an e-mail message to MSNBC.com, “but it in no way diminishes the admirable mission that JAXA carried out. They are doing something that no one else has tried in space; and the achievements of rendezvous engineering and close-up science are already truly remarkable.”

2005-Nov-12, 09:40 PM
The sample retrieval has always been the main scientific thrust of the project, and observers believe that the disappointment surrounding MINERVA may actually help contribute to a better understanding of the challenge of landing the entire spacecraft successfully next week.

“The apparent loss of Minerva is a disappointment,” Louis Friedman, executive director of the California-based Planetary Society, said in an e-mail message to MSNBC.com, “but it in no way diminishes the admirable mission that JAXA carried out. They are doing something that no one else has tried in space; and the achievements of rendezvous engineering and close-up science are already truly remarkable.”

I have copied the passage above from the MSNBC report.

Although it comes as a great disappointment, as much for the team at JAXA as for the rest of us who have been following this mission, that MINERVA has floated off into space, we can only hope that the JAXA team have learnt something from this & that the proposed landing on the 19th will go ahead without problem & be able to collect the samples of dust & later return them to Earth for their analysis.

2005-Nov-15, 11:01 PM
Unbowed by Robot Loss, Japan's Asteroid Probe Readies For Touchdown (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/051115_hayabusa_update.html)

Despite a glitch in deploying a mini-robot onto asteroid Itokawa, Japanese space officials plan to proceed in a milestone-making touchdown on the space rock to obtain samples of the object for return to Earth.
Now, Hayabusa ground controllers are preparing to carry out a first touchdown on asteroid Itokawa on November 19 and a second touchdown on November 25. The mission is being run by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), a space science research division arm of JAXA.

2005-Nov-16, 11:00 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/11/16 (JST)

Distance from Earth : 288,794,050 km
Distance from Itokawa : 4.0 km
* 3 days befor the 1st touch down and sampling
(Releasing a target marker with signatures)

2005-Nov-17, 01:59 AM
Saturday will be an interesting day while we wait for any further news on whether Hayabusa successfully concluded the landing & sample collection.
The JAXA team will be biting their nails in anticipation of what they expect. I hope their expectations are fully met!

2005-Nov-17, 11:14 PM
Physorg.com: Prospects For Hayabusa Returning Asteroid Sample To Earth In Question (http://www.physorg.com/news8251.html)

A malfunction in Hayabusa's positioning control system - causing it to jerk in an awkward manner - is now casting doubt on its ability to position itself for the planned fire-and-dislodge attempt (to get a sample) next weekend.

JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science had intended the Hayabusa mission to establish the necessary technologies for bringing back samples of an asteroid's surface to earth, but with such a small budget – just $US170 million in total- the project may prove far too ambitious to pull off.

2005-Nov-18, 08:48 AM
Planetary Society Weblog, November 17: Another Hayabusa update: small delay (http://planetary.org/blog/)

ISAS re-scheduled Hayabusa's sampling activity as below. Time is JST. At around 9p.m. on Saturday, November 19 [noon UTC], Hayabusa will start descending. At around 3 a.m. on Sunday, November 20 [6 p.m. Nov 19 UTC], ISAS will announce status of Hayabusa.
Other times
around 5a.m. [8 p.m. UTC]: Go/no go decision
around 6 a.m. [9 p.m. UTC]: closest approach
6:30 a.m. [9:30 p.m. UTC]: Announce deployment of target marker and signatures
around 10:00 a.m. [1 a.m. Nov 20 UTC]: Announcement of landing
Around noon [3 a.m. Nov 20 UTC]: Press conference

When it's happening, watch JAXA Video and log:
LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS/JAXA (http://jaxa.tv/)

My wondering: if they make a successful collection of sample material on the first try, should they risk trying again a week later?

2005-Nov-18, 11:05 PM
Heck no! Get what you can and be glad you got it. That isn't very much of a probe. I don't blame them for wanting to baby it.

2005-Nov-19, 06:25 PM
Heck no! Get what you can and be glad you got it. That isn't very much of a probe. I don't blame them for wanting to baby it.

I'm with you on that one!!! If they can get a few gramms with one landing - then better that than nothing while trying for a second sample & crashing the craft!

2005-Nov-19, 07:19 PM
Hayabusa is about 6 hours into descent.

LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS/JAXA (http://jaxa.tv/)

As of [Nov. 20] 3:00 JST [Nov 19, 18:00 UTC, Nov 19, 10:00 PST], the altitude of Hayabusa is approximately 500 meters.

2005-Nov-19, 07:36 PM
Their blog had another (later) entry saying the altitude was about 800 meters but they've removed it now

2005-Nov-19, 09:20 PM
It's a go!

LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS/JAXA (http://jaxa.tv/)

Current (5:10 [JST; 20:10 UTC; 12:10 PST]) altitude of Hayabusa is approximately 290 meters.

5:30 JST; 10:30 UTC; 12:30 PST: 160 meters.


Current (5:40 JST) altitude of Hayabusa is approximately 90 meters.

2005-Nov-19, 10:40 PM
The Planetary Society Weblog (http://planetary.org/blog/) :: Nov. 19, 2005 | 13:31 PST | 21:31 UTC

An unconfirmed source -- another Japanese weblog -- has reported that Hayabusa has released the target marker and has started ascending again, and that it is not known whether it landed.


That other weblog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/), though I don't know its trustworthiness, seems to give a better play-by-play. Some of the comments are English.

6:37:21 [JST]

 Now the time that changing the ground station, from NASA Goldstone station to Usuda station. Operater can not get the telemetory data from Hayabusa. We have to wait.

2005-Nov-19, 11:49 PM
That other weblog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) (Edit: It needs a better name. It's Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog.)

 Prof.Matogawa(JAXA/ISAS) said,
Operater can not confirm asscending. Beacon from Hayabusa continues.

Hayabusa has descended in autonomous mode. Laser range finder on Hayabusa indicated attitude 17m. After that, descending has stopped. But Hayabusa did not begin ascending.

About 7:00 JST, Operater sent to Hayabusa ascending command, and going into safe-mode.

Repeat, Beacon from Hayabusa continues. Operater is making effort to understand, what happend.

2005-Nov-20, 01:35 AM
Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) :: 8:51:04 JST [23:51:04 UTC; 15:51:04 PST]

Prof. Matogawa said,

 Operater continue recieving beacon from Hayabusa. Thus Hayabusa is not on Itokawa. She is somewhere near Itokawa.

 Operater is making their effort to establish two way communication link, using low gain antena. It needs for doppler mesurement. it also needs recieving telemetory data from Hayabusa.

They sent command that change communication system on Hayabusa, from beacon mode to telemetory mode.


9:45:14 [JST; 00:45:14 UTC; 16:45:14 PST]
 Two way communication is established! at 9:32 JST. using low gain antena. Hayabusa is not in safe-mode.

2005-Nov-20, 04:25 AM
Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/)

Best I can gather, it looks like they need to analyze telemetry before announcement and press conference that were scheduled:

Announcement of contact with surface (or not) Nov. 20 10:00; JST Nov. 20 01:00 UTC; Nov. 19 17:00 PST
Press conference Nov. 20 12:00 JST; Nov. 20 03:00 UTC; Nov. 19 19:00 PST

Probably no press conference until the next day.

2005-Nov-20, 04:56 AM
OK, Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) just referenced another blog, 5th Star (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/fate_of_hayabus.html). I'm glad some independents are telling the story, even if unofficially, more effectively than JAXA.

5th Star :: Fate of Hayabusa (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/fate_of_hayabus.html) says, mostly translating Shin Matsuura:

Apprarently some anomaly happened along the way and they are now trying to analyze the status. No detail information is released by JAXA as of this writing, so I'm trying to summarize what Mr. Matsuura wrote in his blog, who is a space journalist now in the press room of JAXA/ISAS.
Prof. Matogawa addresses media again. "In about 10 minutes we expect the first telemetry data from Hayabusa. The press conference originally scheduled at noon would have to be cancelled. The project manager prof. Kawaguchi would also like to postpone it until tomorrow." [...] "The result of the anhalysis of what happened has to wait until tomorrow. Once we receive the telemetry, we will know whether it touched down, impactor has been injected, and such. We will let you know the status immediately. [...] I think I will give you the briefing in every hour or so. [...] While it was trying to touch down, it somehow hovered at a certain altitude (about 10 m) for a half hour. Hayabusa's movement was closely monitored by two-way Doppler signal but not shift has been observed. We speculated the temperature of Hayabusa went up considerably. The communication circuit might have experienced some kind of anomaly. It seems reasonable we re-established the communication once Hayabusa moved away from Itokawa."
Prof. Matogawa again. "Now we keep contact with Hayabusa with medium gain antenna. We started the communication with low gain antenna and enabled the medium gain. We will receive the house keeping data such as whether the impactor has been injected, around [13:00 JST; 04:00 UTC; 20:00 PST]. We will also know whether Hayabusa touched down. I will come back immediately when I know."

2005-Nov-20, 07:20 AM
More from 5th Star :: Fate of Hayabusa (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/fate_of_hayabus.html), translating Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/), times reflecting Matsuura's entries:

13:42 [JST; 04:42 UTC; 20:42 PST] Prof. Matogawa into the press room. "We still don't know whether it touched down or not. Hayabusa did go into the safe mode. We also know it now hovers futher away from the home positon. Hayabusa is now in safe mode, stabilizing itself with a gentle spin, with its solar array facing to the sun. [...] Our current goals are 1) establish the attitude control and 2) attempt to go back to Itokawa again. We are evaluating which goal to perform and when."
14:40 [JST; 05:40 UTC; 21:40 PST] Mr. Matsuura's personal speculation based on the press briefings by JAXA/ISAS: "I got the impression that we did not experience such a strange hovering nor going into safe mode during the last three descent operations. It may as well be the consequences of the event specific to this operation, namely the touch down!? It could be due to the touch down that Hayabusa lost the attitude and entered into the safe mode?? Safe mode means the probe is safe. Anyway we are not in the worst situation."
Better safe than sorry!

2005-Nov-20, 01:07 PM
from 5th Star :: Fate of Hayabusa (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/fate_of_hayabus.html) describing the press conferences 4pm JST
Hayabusa started descent operation at 9pm last night. It actually started the descent long before but we declared at 9pm at the altitude of 1km.
We successfully aimed the probe to the target, better than our last rehearsals.
Around 4:30 this morning we started the "perpendicular descent " phase, at altitude of 400 to 500 m, along the line between Earth and Itokawa. The velocity was about 10 cm/s.
It had been very smooth. We presume we had controlled the spacecraft at an order of 1 cm/s precision.
It took about an hour to the altitude 54 m. We send GO at 4:55. This was the prescheduled altitude. We cut the wire which hold the target marker. At the altitude of 40 m the spacecraft braked by 6 cm/s, which released the target marker. We calculated the marker reached onto the surface of Itokawa 400 seconds later.
At 35 m we switched the altitude monitor from rador? to the laser range finder. It was first time for us to use the laser range finder, but it worked pretty well.
The spacecraft then took pictures of the marker and it followed the marker autonomouslly, which also went very well.
At 55 m Hayabusa went into hovering mode using the laser range finder.
Then it went down slowly until 17 m, when the spacecraft aligned itself to the surface of Itokawa. The communication with the high gain antenna was stopped at that point. We switched to the beacon mode and watched the altitude with Doppler information.
After that point we only have Doppler information at hand now.
We speculate the spacecraft had descended at 2 to 3 cm/s with the trajectory parallel to the surface of Itokawa. We observe it stayed at 10 m for about a half hour. Combined with other data, we do not think Hayabusa had touched down.
Staying longer near the surface of Itokawa, the temperature of the spacecraft goes up due to the sun light reflection from the surface. We sent ascent command at 7am from NASA station.
At this point the angle between the Sun and the solar array went too large and this caused the Hayabusa to go into safe mode. We don't know why at this point.
We tried every effort during the communication time window from the Usuda station to stop the spin of the spacecraft but we still do not regain the 3-axis control. We will try again tomorrow. As a consequence, we still not downloaded the data in the data recorder.
The spacecraft evacuated from Itokawa at rather high speed, so it is now about 100 km away from Itokawa. It will take several days to bring it back near Itokawa.
We need to check the status of the sensors because the spacecraft stayed longer near the surface. We will check them in a couple of days.
We were so close to the success but we maintained the spacecraft in a deep space at a very high precision without the (reaction) wheels. This is a very big step forward.
We are also pleased that we successfully delivered the target marker which carries the names of so many people.
We plan to test the probe. Then we'd like to try the touch down again to get the sample of the surface. We have another target marker on board.

He also speculates elsewhere that spacecraft may have touched with something other than its sampler horn.

2005-Nov-21, 08:44 AM
JAXA: Hot Topics (http://www.jaxa.jp/index_e.html)

Ready for another landing attempt after clarifying status of landing and sampling held on morning of the 20th
We have to recover the attitude of the Hayabusa and make its high-gain antenna turn toward the earth to acquire more detailed data from the onboard equipment so that we can find out if the touchdown on the morning of the 20th was successful or not.

2005-Nov-21, 07:05 PM

Status of Japan’s Asteroid Probe Sampling Mission Unconfirmed (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/051120_hayabusa_problem.html)

Japan’s Hayabusa asteroid sampling spacecraft made a pass at an asteroid today, a history-making first attempt to gather specimens of its target space rock, Itokawa.

Whether the spacecraft was successful in making contact with the asteroid, however, remains unclear.

According to Japan’s space agency, JAXA, the spacecraft did successfully release a target marker, roughly 130 feet (40 meters) from the asteroid.

"Thus we are almost certain that the target marker reached the surface of the Itokawa," noted a web site of JAXA and its space research arm, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS).

That target marker carries thousands of signatures from people all over the world. It is not immediately clear what happened with the Hayabusa spacecraft during its first run at gathering specimens of the asteroid.

2005-Nov-21, 07:07 PM
Florida Today:

Probe fails to touch down on asteroid (http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051120/BREAKINGNEWS/51120001/1007/rss06)

A Japanese research probe failed to touch down on an asteroid today after developing trouble just yards away from the surface, Japan's space agency said.
When Hayabusa was 130 feet above the asteroid Itokawa, it dropped a small object as a touchdown target, then descended to 56 feet, officials from Japan's space agency, JAXA, said.

At that point, ground control lost contact with the probe for about three hours, the officials said.

"Hayabusa reached extremely close, but could not make the landing," said JAXA spokesman Toshihisa Horiguchi, adding that the reason for the failure was unknown

2005-Nov-21, 07:29 PM
What a shame. :(

2005-Nov-21, 07:47 PM
What a shame. :(

It is indeed a great shame they didn't succeed but as there will be second attempt in a couple of days perhaps, with the information & the practise they have had, the next time it will be a success - I hope!

2005-Nov-21, 09:26 PM
Another article:


2005-Nov-21, 10:07 PM
Astronomy Picture of the Day, Nov. 21 (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap051121.html)

Explanation: Where are the craters on asteroid Itokawa? No one knows. The Japanese robot probe Hayabusa recently approached the Earth-crossing asteroid and is returning pictures showing a surface unlike any other Solar System body yet photographed -- a surface possibly devoid of craters. One possibility for the lack of common circular indentations is that asteroid Itokawa is a rubble pile -- a bunch of rocks and ice chunks only loosely held together by a small amount of gravity. If so, craters might be filled in whenever the asteroid gets jiggled by a passing planet -- Earth in this case. Alternatively, surface particles may become electrically charged by the Sun, levitate in the microgravity field, and move to fill in craters. Over the weekend, Hayabusa lowered itself to the surface of the strange asteroid in an effort to study the unusual body and collect surface samples that could be returned to Earth in 2007.

2005-Nov-21, 10:20 PM
Great picture, though it does look like a clod of dirt from my yard. ;)

One Skunk Todd
2005-Nov-21, 11:21 PM
I'll refrain from giant coprolite jokes. But just barely. :)

2005-Nov-22, 04:40 AM
Planetary Society: Planetary News: Asteroids and Comets (2005) Hayabusa Does Not Land on Asteroid in First Attempt, But Successfully Delivers Target Marker (http://planetary.org/news/2005/1121_Hayabusa_Does_Not_Land_on_Asteroid_in.html)

The scientists and engineers in the Hayabusa mission control room lost contact with Hayabusa between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., Sunday morning Japan Standard Time (JST), November 20, and so did not immediately realize what happened.
After analyzing the data returned by the spacecraft, however, the team found that Hayabusa continued its slow descent following the target marker until it got to within about 10 meters (32.8 feet) of the big rock, and then it autonomously went into safe mode, according to a report issued by the Hayabusa Joint Science Team members that the mission’s Project Manager, Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi, sent to The Planetary Society yesterday afternoon. Instead of landing, the spacecraft apparently cruised above the surface for awhile, until mission control signaled to the spacecraft to abort the landing altogether.
[...] Hayabusa may swoop down and try again as early as next Friday, November 25.

"The project looks positively at the next opportunity, since almost every difficult step was now identified to function normally," the team stated in its report. This time, they noted, "the guidance and navigation to the intended point was performed quite well with the residual speed of almost several millimeters per second, that is the walking speed of worms."

2005-Nov-22, 08:15 PM
Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) :: 2005.11.22

Today, Operaters got some data from Hayabusa.
They will publish the result of [analyzing] the data, in 23th evening JST, by JAXA webpage.
Go/No go decision to the second attempt will publish in 24th evening JST.

2005-Nov-23, 07:01 PM
Hayabusa touched asteroid Itokawa after all (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8362&feedId=online-news_rss20)

The Japanese space agency has announced that its Hayabusa spacecraft successfully touched down on asteroid Itokawa during a rendezvous on Sunday, although it failed to collect samples from its surface.

Hayabusa suffered a communications glitch while approaching Itokawa and, by the time the link was re-established with Earth several hours later, had drifted away from its target.

2005-Nov-23, 07:16 PM
and: Wao! Hayabusa has landed ! (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/wao__hayabusa_h.html) from 5thstar...

I like the observation from Prof. Kawaguchi, project manager of Hayabusa: "It was the first probe ever to land and take off on the celestial body other than the Moon."

Pictures! I want pictures from the surface of Itokawa!!!

2005-Nov-23, 07:28 PM
Good for them, now that they know they can do it, they need to get something on board so it can handle sampling autonomously if there's cut off.

Nice work either way, given everything the Japanese space program has been through, this is a huge feather in their cap.

2005-Nov-23, 07:43 PM
More details on the touchdown(s) of Hayabusa at 5thstar :: Detail of the first touchdown by Hayabusa (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/detail_of_the_f.html), translating Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/1_d0bc.html)

The first touch down occurred around 6:10. The second touch down was around 6:30 after a bounce.
Some sand should come up at the impact of the touch down. Part of them should have reached to the sampler capsule. The capsule was programmed to be closed according to the sequence of the touch down, so it is still open now. Scientists insist on closing the capsule, so they will send the closing command in the next communication window tomorrow.

ABC News International: Japanese Spacecraft Lands Successfully on Asteroid, Despite Early Report of Failure (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=1340698)

Edit: Images (detailed shadow of Hayabusa on Itokawa, from close hover, possible target marker circled), charts, lots of Japanese text is at JAXA: Data and details of Hayabusa first landing (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/j/snews/2005/1123_hayabusa.shtml)

http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/j/snews/2005/image/1123/fig3a.jpg (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/j/snews/2005/image/1123/l/fig3a.jpg) Enlarge (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/j/snews/2005/image/1123/l/fig3a.jpg)

2005-Nov-23, 08:13 PM
and: Wao! Hayabusa has landed ! (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/wao__hayabusa_h.html) from 5thstar...

I like the observation from Prof. Kawaguchi, project manager of Hayabusa: "It was the first probe ever to land and take off on the celestial body other than the Moon."

Pictures! I want pictures from the surface of Itokawa!!!

Possibly precedented by Beagle II however ;) .

if I understand correctly, the craft landed, did not fire the "bullet" however, but scientist hope that some dust got up by the landing anyway and now want the capsule closed? Does that mean they won't try another time?

2005-Nov-23, 08:32 PM
Does that mean they won't try another time?
Collection sounds like it is just possible but uncertain. I wonder if they can measure what's in the capsule.

I expect them to try again, if they can get the resources lined up in time.

Now though, if they can't collect again, it sounds like it might be worth sending Hayabusa back to Earth with what it just might have collected.

2005-Nov-23, 09:15 PM
They have two capture chambers - or is it three, I thought they had three sample collections scheduled originally.

It occured to me also that Pathfinder's "bounce" on Mars might be claimed ahead of this (and Beagle and the MERs) but Hayabusa did in fact land and then leave the gravitational influence of Itokawa (even though that is supremely easy).

2005-Nov-23, 09:26 PM
I meant that Beagle was never found on mars, so maybe it landed and bounced back into space ;). Not seriously though.µ

Now Hayabusa, go down and fill that second sample chamber as it should be: with the bullet and top full :).

Kullat Nunu
2005-Nov-23, 09:58 PM
Moon, Venus, Mars, Eros, Titan ... and Itokawa. It is a tiny asteroid, but has now joined in a very exclusive club. ;)

2005-Nov-23, 10:15 PM
Earth. You forgot Earth. Shuttles have landed on Earth and lifted off again.

2005-Nov-23, 10:45 PM
Earth. You forgot Earth. Shuttles have landed on Earth and lifted off again.Hmm... I think he can wriggle out of that by the "celestial" qualifier, Earth being by definition "terrestrial" instead.

2005-Nov-24, 03:23 AM
Hmm... I think he can wriggle out of that by the "celestial" qualifier, Earth being by definition "terrestrial" instead.

Earth is part of things "celestrial." :-)

His list was "Moon, Venus, Mars, Eros, Titan ... and Itokawa."

Also add Jupiter to the list since Galileo dropped a probe into Jupiter's atmosphere and some years was intentionally sent to burn up in Jupiter's atmosophere.

2005-Nov-24, 03:39 AM
Earth is part of things "celestrial." :-)

His list was "Moon, Venus, Mars, Eros, Titan ... and Itokawa."

Also add Jupiter to the list since Galileo dropped a probe into Jupiter's atmosphere and some years was intentionally sent to burn up in Jupiter's atmosophere.There are two lists. One consists of the Moon and Itokawa, the celestial objects that we have landed probes on and subsequently had them take off again. The other slightly broader list that you and Kullat are talking about is anything we've dropped a probe onto, which should also include Tempel 1. Still a pretty exclusive club though.

2005-Nov-24, 05:05 AM
Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog :: 2005.11.22 (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/22_74f0.html)

Go/No go decision to the second attempt will publish in 24th evening JST.

2005-Nov-24, 10:49 AM
Images (detailed shadow of Hayabusa on Itokawa, from close hover, possible target marker circled), charts, lots of Japanese text is at JAXA: Data and details of Hayabusa first landing (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/j/snews/2005/1123_hayabusa.shtml)
Now available in English (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1124_hayabusa.shtml)

2005-Nov-24, 07:12 PM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)

Last update 2005/11/24 (JST)

Distance from Earth : 288,250,500 km
Distance from Itokawa : 20 km
* We are approaching to the asteroid Itokawa for the next touch-down which will be held on 26th in the morning(JST).
It sounds like it's a go for landing number 2.

Edit: Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.24

Hayabusa is to try the second attempt touchdown. Small correction manuvour will be made tonight JST. If Operater comfirm the result of correction is right, Hayabusa is to go surface of Itokawa again.
Touchdown will occur about 7:00 26th JST [Nov. 25, 22:00 UTC; Nov. 25, 14:00 PST].
Edit: If they follow the same sort of timeline as on the first attempt, descent will begin 9 hours earlier, at Nov. 25, 22:00 JST; Nov. 25, 13:00 UTC; Nov. 25, 5:00 PST.

2005-Nov-25, 01:41 AM
5thstar :: 2005.11.25 Hayabusa will try again on the 26th (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/hayabusa_will_t.html) translating Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/2526_c11c.html):

JAXA will try the second attempt of the touch down with Hayabusa around 7am on the 26th [JST], provided they successfully position the spacecraft along the line between the Earth and Itokawa tonight (24th [JST]). Final GO decision will take place around tomorrow (25th) noon [JST].
The probe is scheduled to make the touch down just after 7am (in probe time) on the 26th [JST]. The communication will be switched to beacon mode just before, so they will not be in the real time contact. Even if everything goes smoothly, it will not be before 11am before they can say anything about the situation.
There are some instruments such as laser range finder which cannot be tested until the spacecraft closes in to the asteroid. They will be tested on the fly.

The software had 7 to 8 traps [I'm guessing "faults" or "alarms"] during the 19th to 20th landing. They will change some parameters to ensure the continuity of the sequence for the second touch down.
Lots of Q&A follows.

Edit: Update: Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.25

The correction maneuver last night is confirmed all rigiht. Now Hayabusa is 5km far from Itokawa. The operation team is to try the second touchdown from 25th night to 26th morning JST.

Touchdown will occur at 7:00 26th JST , 22:00 25th UTC [14:00 25th PST].

2005-Nov-25, 11:04 AM
The second Hayabusa touchdown and sampling will, as usual, be covered in video and text at
LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS/JAXA (http://jaxa.tv/)

03:00 to 10:00 JST, Nov. 26
18:00, Nov. 25 to 01:00, Nov. 26 UTC
10:00 to 17:00, Nov. 25 PST

And just a few points on the timeline from articles above:

My estimated start of descent:
22:00, Nov. 25 JST
13:00, Nov. 25 UTC
05:00, Nov. 25 PST

My estimated go/nogo:
06:00, Nov. 26 JST
21:00, Nov. 25 UTC
13:00, Nov. 25 PST

Scheduled touchdown, approximately:
07:00, Nov. 26 JST
22:00, Nov. 25 UTC
14:00, Nov. 25 PST

2005-Nov-25, 07:38 PM

LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS/JAXA (http://jaxa.tv/)

As of 2:00 JST (onboard time) [17:00 UTC; 09:00 PST], [...] the altitude of Hayabusa is approximately 900 meters. Hayabusa is descending at a rate of 4.5 centimeters per second.

2005-Nov-25, 07:51 PM
Translated (Google & tidy up) from the same blog:
On board time 3:24 [JST] presently, Hayabusa altitude is approximately 570 meters. In addition, on board time 3 o'clock presently, distance in the Itokawa center approximately 780 meters, being 1.6 centimeters per second descent velocity.I don't understand the conflict between the speed posted and the progress they're making...

2005-Nov-25, 08:03 PM
Well, it seems that Hayabusa finally landed on the asteroid & remained there for some time before taking off again & making history by being the first man made probe to land & take off from an asteroid! However it wasn't able to keep to its principal goal, that of recovering a specimen from the surface to return to Earth next year. In a couple of days there may be a second attempt at landing with the hope of picking up a sample of dust.

2005-Nov-25, 09:02 PM
LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS/JAXA (http://jaxa.tv/)

As of 4:00 JST [19:00 UTC; 11:00 PST], the altitude of Hayabusa is approximately 500 meters.

36 minutes. 70 meters. That was 3.24 cm/sec.

2005-Nov-25, 09:11 PM
Which would mean over 4 hours from landing...

2005-Nov-25, 10:11 PM
LIVE from Deep Space Control Room of ISAS/JAXA (http://jaxa.tv/)

Just after 13:00 PST:

The spacecraft initiated vertical descent.
I think that means that at the 1-hour-to-touchdown go/nogo point they gave it a go.

Edit: Update:

As of 6:35 JST, the altitude is approximately 300 meters.

As of 6:50 JST, the altitude is approximately 180 meters.

As of 6:55 JST, the altitude is approximately 160 meters.

As of 7:00 JST, the altitude is approximately 120 meters.

As of 7:05 JST, the altitude is approximately 90 meters.

As of 7:10 JST, the altitude is approximately 40 meters.

7:15現在、高度は14メートルです。[14 meters]

Hayabusa has been turned to ascend in some reason.

Argh. The wording expresses puzzlement. I hope it's just the expected action after grabbing a sample!

2005-Nov-25, 11:41 PM
Machine translation of Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 7:38 AM:

Schedule touch down time at time of the probe 7:10 AM around. 7:26 to it passes the ground and, it means touch down. When you look at the streaming of press center, 7:20 it passed and one time, the entrance impression of the beacon broke off. After that 7:26 the beacon for the second time in around the entrance impression. There was the announcement that 7:28 AM in around, "it changed to rise". "It changed to rise with a some reason", that it was published to Live blog. Whether or not it touched knocked down, you do not understand that the communication by the high gain antenna around 11 o'clock in the morning does not recover. It can think that it did touch down timing, rose. But, either the possibility of seceding at sky several m cannot deny with present time. With say, as for expression of the people who have been stuffed to the operational room it is calm. It is not steep under any condition.

That sounds like good news.

I long for some control-room reaction, like with MER landing, of cheering and back-slapping, but I guess the results aren't so obvious. Here's hoping...

Edit: For confirmation, they need to wait for data from the high-gain, and may know something at 11:00 JST -- a few hours from now.

Edit: Shin Matsuura (7:42 AM) seems to be reporting that they decided not to deploy the 3rd target marker during this touchdown, but instead used the target marker from the first attempt. So, barring fuel issues, they might be able to make another attempt, if needed.

2005-Nov-26, 12:18 AM
5thstar (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 "We will know at 8:10", translating Shin Matsuura (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 7:55 AM:

Just came in on Matsuura's blog. Prof. Matogawa says they still don't know. They don't have information because it is in beacon mode. They are now swtiching to Usuda station so they will know once they get the downlink. The Doppler readings have some anomaly this time. Reason unknown. It could be possible if the probe drifted horizontally into the rocky area. At the altitude "22m", one reading was 17m and the other was 30 some meters. This could mean it was over a sloped land. If drifted more than 60m it could be over the area they call "Mt. Yatsugatake", very rocky area. They will re-establish the communication link at 8:10 from Usuda.

When it turned into ascent, the project manager Kawaguchi said "well, we will try it again," and the people around got relaxed. They are just waiting now.

They used the same target marker that is already on the surface of Itokawa, so they might try yet another chance.

2005-Nov-26, 12:57 AM
Shin Matsuura (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 8:44 AM, machine translation:

8:40 AM, V sign of [...] professor appeared in the streaming. At least, the software which accompanies sample picking starting the pattern which could be verified. At the pressroom "probably there is no meaning there is no V sign and the て, the rear 2 times does?", and so on with you say. 8:45 AM verifying the bullet discharge for picking. After that it is favorable.

V sign? No V sign?

Answers coming eventually. La-la-la...

Edit: From UnmanedSpaceflight.com topic: Sampling operation was initiated. Bullet discharge. V sign could mean "2".

2005-Nov-26, 01:06 AM
Shin Matsuura (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 8:59 AM, machine translation:

Success! 8:48 AM [...] professor appearances. When "striking the bullet, attitude of the probe, in other words as for the direction which shoots the bullet however you do not understand yet, the sample picking sequence operated entirely normally. After picking because it is the expectation which has entered into the mode, WMT, you verified that first. Verifying that it has entered into mode, the わ っ and all it grew. And it is the case that I produce V sign. If the bullet is struck in land direction, the sample is the expectation which is picked almost not to be wrong ", "As for Mr. Kawaguchi reporter..." "Being called, ' that, it is moving" ' The reporter "[Hayabusa], how it has become?", "Attitude and occurrence electric power etc. of the solar array, entirely it is normal", The reporter "is Mr. Kawaguchi probably the intention already one time of doing?", Way "you fear everyone that, the shank (laughing). Already, assuming that one time you do, you come everyone and to collection of data?", It was good coming! (Matsuura)

All right!

Now, did they get a sample?

2005-Nov-26, 01:33 AM
V-sign in altitude graph? meaning bounce or descent -> ascent? Or just V for victory (or in Japan/Korea any time there's a camera pointed at you?)

2005-Nov-26, 01:33 AM
Great mission! Thanks for the updates.
I don't believe there is a camera on board that's capable of taking pictures on the surface, is it?

2005-Nov-26, 01:48 AM
Great mission! Thanks for the updates.
I don't believe there is a camera on board that's capable of taking pictures on the surface, is it?
From what I've read, I don't think the camera can focus that close.

There should be a press conference before too long to announce results.

Here's a picture from Shin Matsuura's Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 9:37 AM, of the V-sign (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/.shared/image.html?/lbyd/images/20051126es.jpg).

2005-Nov-26, 01:56 AM
Shin Matsuura (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 8:59 AM, machine translation:
A human translation is now up on the blog:

"We still don't know the attitude of the probe when it fired the bullet, and whether it hit the surface, but all the sample accuisition sequence worked. Hayabusa should be in a mode called 'WMT' after the accuisition sequence, and we first tryed to confirm that. When we saw it's in WMT mode, everybody wildly cheered. If the bullet hits the surface, I'm almost sure we have gotten the sample"

2005-Nov-26, 02:12 AM
MSNBC is reporting that there was a brief touchdown at which time a small sample was retrieved.



2005-Nov-26, 02:29 AM
How odd.

While you can still go to the link I cited above, I can no longer find any reference to it as a headline on their news web site - only this older story which still has everything in doubt.



2005-Nov-26, 03:17 AM
If the sensors on the sample scoop touches something then the Bullet is fired.

JAXA confirmed that the bullet was fired (at 7:07 JST. ? - can`t remember)

2005-Nov-26, 03:39 AM
Except if it detects a problem or error and goes into a safe mode of some kind. I believe a sensor detected an unacceptably high projection of some kind. This is why it didn't fire the first time they landed. But given that the lander then remained on the surface for almost half an hour (and this might have been their only kick at the can), you have to wonder about this safe mode procedure.

Of course, apparently it has been able to make a second approach with more ideal conditions.

Armchair RBG

2005-Nov-26, 03:40 AM
If the sensors on the sample scoop touches something then the Bullet is fired.

JAXA confirmed that the bullet was fired (at 7:07 JST. ? - can`t remember)

Yeah. Bullet fired.

It's just a matter if the attitude was right, I think -- and then actually having the expected good fortune to get some particles to fly up into the sampling cannister. Everything appears to have gone normally with the sequence.

Older news from Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.26 10:18 AM

Associate professor Saito appeared at 9:58 AM and made a quick comment.

"The following three things is all we can say for sure for now:

First, we confirmed through telemetry that the all of the software used for the landing sequence worked.

Second, the attitude of Hayabusa is stable and it is not in the safe mode. The connection with high-gain antenna is already established.

Finally, we started downlink operation through high-gain antenna. The staff is analyzing all the data as soon as it arrives.

Making further comment would be based on just speculation and we are not going to say further. On next press conference we think we can show you the result of analysis of downloaded data."

No safe mode. Landing sequence normal.

From the Q&A that followed:

Shortly after that, project manager Kawaguchi called the pressroom to answer the previous question from the reporter "what was the exact time of landing?" He said "7:07AM on probe time, sampler horn touched something."

2005-Nov-26, 04:45 AM
Wow. I was looking up Hayabusa on Wikipedia and already:

"In November 2005, it succesfully landed on the asteroid to collect samples, and it will return those samples to Earth by July 2007."


2005-Nov-26, 06:59 AM
From what I can tell of Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2:20 PM, when moving away from Itokawa, Hayabusa experienced some thruster problem and they've had difficulty commanding it. They have sent commands to put it into safe mode. It seems not to be stable and not communicating well.

Edit: A human English translation was added:

The last command revealed one or more thrusters is not responding. We still don't know whether they are still in periodical fire mode, or just emitting either fuel or oxidizer only.

Because checking all twelve thruster sequentially will take too long, we are engaging thruster in convination in order to find the problem in fewest possible steps. But the result will not make it before the end of Usuda connection, so we decided to switch to safe mode. With safe mode, Hayabusa keeps the attitude of facing the sun and all the thrusters will stop.

We sent about ten commands one after another in sequence. They were for checking of the thrusters and switching to safe mode. The result will reach Hayabusa at 2:10. We will see the result while we still have the Usuda connection. Currently we are discussing backup plan in case Hayabusa did not enter the safe mode.

Now we have a connection to Hayabusa with medium-gain antenna. The link is stable. As for the two criterias of successful sample collection, we could confirm one of them, that is, the landing attitude with LRF was right. We had a good touchdown. We are yet to confirm the bullet dischagement equipment has worked or not.

We don't have the reservation of DSN after Usuda. The earliest connection reestablishment will be the next Usuda, that is 8:30 AM tomorrow. We are in negotiation to make other DSN available to us.

Reporters ask the details of the landing, but professor Matokawa's answer is the same as the last one.

"Once the sampling operation has completed, we'll switch to 'homecoming operation' mode. Originally I thought we could start the homecoming as early as tomorrow, but that's not the case."

As for the trouble with thruster, he said "we know that during the first landing attempt, one or more thrusters touched the ground, and that may be the source of this trouble. But it's still a speculation."

A reporter asked the time of the press conference, but he answered "please wait till the operation through Usuda is finished. We can't disturb Kawaguchi-kun now..."

Professor Matokawa leaves, reporters follows him.

At 2:51 PM, another blog entry reports Hayabusa has entered safe mode. Project manager Kawaguchi aims for a press conference at:
16:00 JST
07:00 UTC
23:00 PST

2005-Nov-26, 09:40 AM
CNN International: Japan: Success for asteroid probe (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/11/26/japan.probe.ap/)

A Japanese space probe apparently succeeded in landing Saturday on an asteroid and collecting surface samples in an unprecedented mission to bring the extraterrestrial material back to Earth, but afterwards showed signs of trouble, Japan's space agency said.

The probe, now hovering about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the asteroid, appeared to be shaking vertically due to problems with its thruster, according to spokesman Atsushi Akoh of Japan's space agency JAXA.

The agency would put the probe into "safety mode" to investigate, Akoh said.

2005-Nov-26, 08:12 PM
Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.27 12:24 AM, has an English translation of the post-landing press conference.

At 7:03 to 7:05, the mode of laser range finder was switched from range finding mode to sampler control mode. For today's attempt, we used the parameter to use fewer safeguard to achieve full execution of the sequence. That means Hayabusa will not start ascent without firing the bullets.

At 7:35 AM, we confirmed two bullets (projectiles) were fired.
Shortly before 11:00 AM, a trouble, possible leakage, was detected in the thruster system.
Actually we were seeing the sign of this problem during the descent phase, but at that time we switched to the backup system and continued the descent.

When we switched to the main system from the backup system and started the thruster operation, the same problem occured. Due to the attitude change, the probe automatically switched to the safe mode. After that, we controlled the valve to stop the leakage.

We'll use the next three days to get it out of the safe mode. Getting out of the safe mode will be our first priority. After that we'll start downloading of the data.

The amount of leakage of propellant does not seem to hinder the current operation. But it definitely raised the bar of making Hayabusa back to Earth.
A few pages of Q&A follow.

2005-Nov-27, 12:11 PM
The amount of leakage of propellant does not seem to hinder the current operation. But it definitely raised the bar of making Hayabusa back to Earth.

I hope the propellant leakage will not stop the probe from getting back to Earth & releasing the container with the few grammes of asteroidal dust it may have been able to collect. If it does manage to collect some dust but doesn't have enough fuel to get home it will be a crying shame :(.

2005-Nov-28, 05:17 AM
Winnipeg Sun [AP]: Japanese space probe to start journey home (http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Space/2005/11/27/1326300-ap.html)

A Japanese space probe on an unprecedented mission to bring asteroid material back to Earth is set to journey home despite earlier signs of trouble, an executive of Japan's space agency said Sunday.
But the probe appeared to be stabilizing, and JAXA was set to re-ignite its engines by December 10 for its return journey, according to JAXA executive Yasunori Matogawa.

"We'll meet that deadline, whatever happens," Matogawa said.

2005-Nov-28, 07:39 AM
The Planetary Society of Japan, Professor Matogawa's Column (http://www.planetary.or.jp/en/column/index.html), Nov. 27: The Longest Day of “HAYABUSA”

As I wanted to let the reporters know of the happy news for their severe coverage for last couple of weeks, I postured V-sign toward the fixed camera wired to the pressroom. Well, a little bit too un-matured for my age?
We will take about three days to get out of the safe mode as first priority, after which downloading of data will begin. If activation of pyrotechnic is verified by telemetry data to prove firing of bullets, and if the attitude of Hayabusa is proved perpendicular to the surface at the time of firing, the team will abort the next sampling and will command the spacecraft to take the flight back to the earth. Checking of fuels of its sufficiency is already finished. We are about to start challenging mountain climbing called “Asteroid Sample Return Mission” from the eighth post upward.

2005-Nov-28, 03:59 PM
By the way 01101001, thanks for all the updates.

2005-Nov-29, 07:45 AM
This doesn't sound good.

Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.29 3:01 PM, machine translation:

Edit: Machine translation junked. I found a human one in the comments section (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/ab_d30f.html#comments):

[Trouble occured in thrusters of both the system-A and the system-B]

At 3:00pm, The press conference released an announce as shown in the title above. Communication to the vehicle is being kept by beacon mode. Today's operation is now being executed after re-entry to the safemode.

Following is an abstract of the press release.

The thrusters consist of two systems, A and B, for redundancy. In ascending from the secong touchdown on 26th Nov., a leakage occured in the system B and Hayabusa entered to the safe mode. They tried to recover from the safe mode in operation via DSN at 26th night and Usuta on 27th, but the remaining system-A thrusters did not generate enough propulsion force.

It seems that some trouble in valve may cause obstruction, or the pipes may be frozen.

Operation on 27th Nov. ended by making the vehicle enter to the safe mode again, but they failed to contact the vehicle on the 28th.

After 10:00am today, the beacon line was recovered and they started the operation for recovery.

Edit: Same link, updated entry, 4:19 PM:

No translation yet. The news above was repeated. There was a good deal of Q&A. It didn't make a lot of sense to me. My guess:

It seems they continue to have problems with Hayabusa and its attitude, and they cannot get stabilized for a high-gain transmission to figure out what is going on. The thruster leak was stopped, but neither of 2 thruster systems work. They are competing for NASA DSN with Cassini and other users, so it's hard to get time.

Reporters asked about what happens if Hayabusa can't leave by Dec. 10, and answer involved "4 years" -- either taking extra 4 years, or maybe finally leaving or arriving in 4th year of mission, but with corresponding risk caused by passage of extra time.


Edit: I found English translation of press conference and Q&A (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/lbyd/2005/11/3_dc16.html#comments). About leaving:

Sankei: If the return in December is impossible, is there any possibility of return?

Kawaguchi: There exists another return timing after 4 years. But its possibility has to be considered because the risk of disorder increases after such long time.


JAXA has insufficient data.

I have insufficient data.

2005-Nov-29, 07:52 PM
5thstar (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/blog/2005/11/) :: 2005.11.30, Hayabusa needs help:

Addressed to NASA and Cassini and Voyager teams

They need to receive just one packet of the probe signal to re-establish the communication with the medium gain antenna. Bigger the parabola is, and sooner, the better. Kawaguchi holds NASA's 34 m parabola on the 30th and the 1st of December. But they could also make use of 70 m parabolas if possible, for several days, in a hope of quickly recovering the communication with Hayabusa, but they are allocated to Cassini and Voyger missions.

Flexible operation of NASA DSN is mostly appreciated. Thank you for your attention.

Space.com: Thruster Glitch Continues to Haunt Japan's Asteroid Probe (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/ap_051129_hayabusa_updt.html)

“Judging from the current circumstances, a certain amount of time will be needed to resume the probe's operations,'' JAXA said.

The agency is trying to fix the problem by a December deadline to begin its 290 million kilometers (180 million miles) journey home. Kyodo News agency said failure to remedy the glitch may make the probe's return impossible.

Planetary Society Blog (http://planetary.org/blog) :: Nov. 29, 2005 | 09:59 PST | 17:59 UTC : Thruster trouble for Hayabusa:

It would be tragic if they couldn't bring Hayabusa home -- tragic for the mission, but more than that, tragic because the loss of Hayabusa would mean that JAXA would get tremendous amounts of press about failure despite their many achievements with this mission. I am hoping fervently for Hayabusa's recovery and safe return!

2005-Nov-30, 11:23 PM
Planetary Society Weblog (http://planetary.org/blog) :: Nov. 30, 2005 | 14:03 PST | 22:03 UTC :: Hayabusa: Contact has been re-established, but thruster problems still puzzling:

Mostly, it just cites: Hayabusa: Team Re-Establishes Command and Works to Bring its Falcon Home (http://www.planetary.org/news/2005/1130_Hayabusa_Team_ReEstablishes_Command.html):

As of today, the team is still not certain as to exactly what went wrong after Hayabusa's second touch-down landing Saturday and whether it will be able to initiate the return trajectory, but they are working hard to bring their bird home.
"The resumption operation of Hayabusa has started," Kawaguchi confirmed. Every instrument except the RCS is in "good health," he noted. "But it may take a certain period [of time] for the spacecraft to resume normal operations." That means it's going to take awhile until they can "commence ion engines operation." Which, in turn, means that Hayabusa is now up against the deadline of its life: it must get into its trajectory for the return to Earth by early December.

2005-Nov-30, 11:39 PM
The Planetary Society of Japan, Professor Matogawa's Column (http://www.planetary.or.jp/en/column/index.html), Nov. 30: “Hayabusa” operation-----just like taming a shrew

I presume in my personal opinion that Hayabusa is now near the status of safe-hold-mode, however, its spinning axis is not directed to the sun but the spacecraft is in coning motion around the axis in a center. What causes worry is the thruster. For your assurance again, all the onboard instruments other than thrusting systems are normally functioned.

Making the earth returning plan is only possible with the steady attitude control, for which it is important to check each thruster and to find the causes of malfunctions of the thruster. Unfortunately though, the data to make judgment is insufficient. Just one package of data will help a lot in understanding what’s going on with Hayabusa, though.

2005-Nov-30, 11:43 PM
if only they had attached a thin rope to Hayabusa they could pull it back, but no THAT would have been too expensive ;)

I do hope they get Hayabusa back here. Anyway they will have learned a lot, but if the mission is a complete success they will be very motivated and they deserve the success!

2005-Dec-02, 12:02 AM
I hope the propellant leakage will not stop the probe from getting back to Earth & releasing the container with the few grammes of asteroidal dust it may have been able to collect. If it does manage to collect some dust but doesn't have enough fuel to get home it will be a crying shame :(.

This is what happens when you don't have enough lift capability--no margin.

2005-Dec-02, 01:19 AM
Oh, I like this picture of a model Itokawa, here (http://gonzaburou.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2005/12/post_1ce0.html) (with scale figure of Hayabusa and a person).

Oops. the model is no more. It was eaten for dinner.

2005-Dec-02, 08:37 PM
The Planetary Society of Japan, Professor Matogawa's Column (http://www.planetary.or.jp/en/column/index.html), Dec. 2: Struggling Hayabusa team

Basically, the situation has remained same for last couple of days that we’ve been unable to accurately grasp what’s going on with Hayabusa after the successful sampling due to the lack of information data.
it will be Monday next week for most of data to be acquired.

A time limit is closing in on Hayabusa’s journey back home. We will just patiently wait for successful outcome from the desperate efforts by Hayabusa team.

2005-Dec-03, 09:16 AM
5thstar (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/) :: 2005.12.03, Hayabusa Hangs On

It's not a lot, but it's something to read during the wait.

Prof. Matogawa replied to a query from media saying JAXA will complete taking necessary data by December 5, and will try to analyze the cause of the malfunction and resume the recovery operation.
JAXA/ISAS is now communicating with Hayabusa with the low gain antenna, and intermittently with the medium gain antenna. The spacecraft is now in "near safe-hold mode", the rotation axis is slightly off the designed axis, which makes the communication with the medium gain antenna difficult due to inappropriate orientation of the spin. But they do receive data with the medium gain from time to time. Hayabusa needs to leave Itokawa by "mid-December".

2005-Dec-03, 10:21 PM
Thanks once again for al the updates 01101001.

2005-Dec-07, 12:10 AM
JAXA: Today's Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/today.shtml)


Distance from Earth : 289,023,000 km
Distance from Itokawa : measuring now
* Hayabusa is now preparing for the return to Earth.
I don't know: is that a new comment about preparing for return? Anyone? I don't recall what the previous update said, nor did I record it, but this feels foggily different. Maybe I'm thinking wishfully. I should have looged the previous. On the other hand, "measuring now" I'm pretty sure is a repeat, and I'd think they'd know that by now, if the return is actually being prepared.

I don't see any other announcements out there in the usual places.

I guess I'll stay in guarded-optimistic mode and continue to await further news while the deadline approaches. Leaving no later than December 10, I've heard is optimal. Somewhere I read that they could delay a few additional days, but it would mean a steeper descent through Earth's atmosphere and more risk.

Edit. For the record, they updated the distance around the time of the press conference (below):

Distance from Itokawa : 550 km

2005-Dec-07, 12:44 AM
pffffff they should have made a TV series of it ;). I so hope for everyone at Jaxa that this bird comes home.

2005-Dec-07, 05:13 PM
Source (http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyID=2005-12-07T102818Z_01_HO737675_RTRUKOC_0_US-SPACE-JAPAN-ASTEROID.xml)
TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese space probe that landed on the surface of an asteroid last month may have failed in its mission to collect rock samples that could give clues to the origin of the solar system, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on Wednesday.

The agency earlier said the probe, called Hayabusa -- Japanese for "falcon" -- had succeeded in the delicate task, which scientists likened to landing a jumbo jet in a moving Grand Canyon.

The agency said on Wednesday, however, that Hayabusa had touched down on the asteroid, nearly 300 million km (190 million miles) from Earth, but may have failed to shoot a 5 gram (0.18 oz) metal ball toward the surface to collect into a capsule the debris unleashed as a result of the impact.

"We have not been able to confirm data that shows a projectile was normally discharged," the agency said in a statement on the November 26 landing. "We have found out that there is a high possibility that the projectile was not discharged."

Doesn't look good for the final rounds, unfortunately. This one may come up empty, literally... -sighs-

2005-Dec-07, 06:24 PM
All right. Here we go.

Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) :: 2005.12.07: Press Conference at 16:50 on 7th Dec. JST

It seems unlikely that the bullet has been shot during the landing on Nov. 26th. (Comment by PAKU: To be precise, the JAXA www page says that the operation team has not confirmed data that shows a shot in the downloaded telemetry.) Chemical thrusters have not recovered yet. Altitude of the vehicle has been controlled with the ion engine.
Hayabusa will leave Itokawa later than Dec. 14th. Journey plan is still being built.


[...] we can replay data recorder, but we don't have the data that we fired the bullet. [...] Our take is there is 80 percent chance that the bullet was not fired.
If thrusters don't recover, the vehicle will return using attitude control by emitting xenon jet for the ion engines. In this case, if the attitude falls down, we have to stop the ion engines, restore the attitude by xenon jet, and then boot the ion engines again.
the extension of return timing will increase the re-entry speed or the re-entry angle of the capsule, leading to larger risks for the capsule.

Well, it all sounds like a real challenge, for possibly no, or extremely minuscule, sample returns. Poor Hayabusa. Hang in there. You can do it!

I think all of the Q&A isn't in or translated yet.


New Scientist: Asteroid sampling mission probably failed (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8431)

"But now we found that the possibility is very high that a metal bullet to collect samples was not actually fired," a JAXA official said. "And therefore the possibility is also very high that Hayabusa has failed to collect samples". The official added that the agency still had a "slim" hope that the probe may have caught some dust.
Even if some dust managed to slip into the collection horn during the touchdown on 26 November - or during an earlier, problem-plagued landing on 20 November - the spacecraft's thruster problem means it may not be able to leave the asteroid by mid-December. If it misses that window, it must wait another three years before the distance between Earth and the asteroid is ideal for the return trip. But the spacecraft's battery may not last that long.
"We won't give up our hope as long as there is a possibility."

2005-Dec-07, 06:43 PM
Damn. In retrospect, they could have tested the bullet that they didn't use on the first landing, in the time preparing for a second landing. However there was a lot else going on and perhaps at that stage there was still hope of two more full sampling landings.

2005-Dec-07, 08:24 PM
Good distillation of Matsuura's blog: The Planetary Society Weblog: Things aren't looking good for Hayabusa, but it's struggling on (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000303/) (Dec. 7, 2005 | 07:23 PST | 15:23 UTC)

So things are not looking good for Hayabusa. But as long as the spacecraft is alive and talking, there is a sliver of hope that something can be done.

2005-Dec-07, 09:39 PM
I have a question. If they didn't collect a sample, why bother bringing the spacecraft back? Or are they bringing it back because of that 20% chance they did get a sample?

2005-Dec-07, 10:09 PM
To prove the sample return technology.

2005-Dec-08, 12:13 AM
I hate to say it--but this is what happens when you try to do too much with too little.

You get nothing at all.

2005-Dec-08, 02:37 AM
I hate to say it--but this is what happens when you try to do too much with too little.

You get nothing at all.

Or in other words:

You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'. --Homer Simpson

2005-Dec-08, 04:29 AM
They probably used the old Computer Tech adage: Never do one last test.

Maybe they should have... :eh:

2005-Dec-08, 11:53 AM
The Planetary Society of Japan, Professor Matogawa's Column (http://www.planetary.or.jp/en/column/index.html), December 8, 2005, "Fantastic idea of using xenon"

With attitude control getting worsened due to malfunction of the chemical engine thruster, Project Manager, Junichiro Kawaguchi, decided to put his long-held idea into practice, i.e. “using ion engine for the attitude control”.
“What? Xenon is getting short so seriously?” “Not necessarily right now but xenon costs as much as 1000 yen per 6gr. So, we’ve used up 20,000 yen worth.”
Out of the data acquired about pyrotechnic control system, however, we have not confirmed yet the verified data of the projectiles fired normally. It was really shocking news. We are not sure of this yet but have to wait for further detailing of data analysis, as it might have been caused of possibly being affected by power shutdown and resetting in overall systems.

A sample capsule was closed already. We do not intend to do sampling again. The last goal remained is just to go back home to the earth.

2005-Dec-09, 10:30 AM
Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) :: 2005.12.07: Press Conference at 16:50 on 7th Dec. JST

I think all of the Q&A isn't in or translated yet.
It looks like the whole press conference is translated now.

Further, 5thstar (http://5thstar.air-nifty.com/) :: 2005.12.08: "Bullets were not engaged?" does a recap.

2005-Dec-09, 10:58 PM
Or in other words:

You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'. --Homer Simpson

The lesson is to not to put an elephants worth of work into a thimble.

2005-Dec-13, 05:06 PM
Another update, from New Scientist (http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/dn8451--hopes-fade-for-troubled-japanese-asteroid-probe.html)

Looks like a comedy of errors in retrospect. It will be interesting to see the lessons-learned and post mortem of all this. :eh:

Kullat Nunu
2005-Dec-13, 05:55 PM
Well, the probe did reach Itokawa and returned spectacular images. There are just a few asteroids imaged by a probe, and Itokawa is only the second asteroid orbited by a probe. I wouldn't call the mission a failure if it doesn't return any samples.

2005-Dec-13, 06:04 PM
Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) :: 2005.12.13:

Press Conference about Hayabusa present status, will held at 9:30 14rh Dec. JST.

I intend to upload Japanese article at 11:00 or so.(S.MATSU)

Press Conference:
09:30, Dec. 14 JST
00:30, Dec. 14 UTC
16:30, Dec. 13 PST

2005-Dec-13, 07:17 PM
I wouldn't call the mission a failure if it doesn't return any samples.

Agreed, it's just an obviously unfortunate situation. The sample return would be the cherry on the sundae.

2005-Dec-13, 07:18 PM
Long-Distance Troubleshooting (http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1803&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0)

Japanese officials are struggling to fix a horde of problems plaguing the Hayabusa space mission in time to begin its journey back to Earth with or without a package of specimens that were supposed to have been collected from the surface of asteroid Itokawa late last month.

2005-Dec-14, 01:34 AM
Planetary Society Weblog: Hayabusa's departure from Itokawa may be delayed until next fall (http://planetary.org/blog/article/00000315/)

We just received the following update from Tasuku Iyori of The Planetary Society of Japan regarding Hayabusa:

JAXA announced to the press that it decided to put off Hayabusa's departure from Itokawa after next fall, thereby expecting spacecraft's return to Earth around 2010. Nothing in detail has yet been reported on the website.

2005-Dec-14, 03:35 AM
I wouldn't call the mission a failure.

Which I did not, but let's be honest, the hopes were for a much higher return than what has been obtained. Don't get me wrong, still an impressive achievment, but expectations have been set up higher.

2005-Dec-14, 06:29 AM
Shin Matsuura's Lift/Drag Blog (http://smatsu.air-nifty.com/) :: 2005.12.13:

Press Conference
JSpace: currently-in-progress English translation project (http://mole.den.hokudai.ac.jp/jspace/index.php?LbyD%2F20051214-2)

2005-Dec-14, 10:14 PM
JAXA: Status of the Hayabusa, December 14, 2005 (http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2005/12/20051214_hayabusa_e.html)

The project team has a good expect to have the spacecraft resume the communication soon. However, the project is now not so sure to make the spacecraft return to earth in June of 2007 and has decided to lengthen the flight period for three years more to have it return to the Earth in June of 2010.
The spacecraft operation will shift from the normal mode to the rescue mode for several months to one year long. Long term predict indicates high probability of having the spacecraft communicated with the ground station again, with the spacecraft captured well in the beam width of the Usuda deep space antenna.

The spacecraft will take the advantage of Xenon gas attitude control again after enough length of baking operation. The Xenon gas that remains is adequate for the return cruise devised by the ion engines carried by Hayabusa.
The chance of acquiring the spacecraft signal is not low but around 60 to 70 %.

The Planetary Society of Japan, Professor Matogawa's Column (http://www.planetary.or.jp/en/column/index.html), December 14, 2005, "Hayabusa to wait for next chance"

It has been officially announced that JAXA decided to delay the return of Hayabusa to the earth by 3 years to June 2010 instead of the original schedule for June 2007, because all the necessary operation for the return trip was not prepared ready for departure by early December, of which timing is essentially important. It is regrettable indeed, but no other way. I would, instead, applause its splendid performances so far.
In spite of the efforts the team did for everything possible, it was finally decided that the attitude and communication would not be possibly restored within December that consequently compelled the team to postpone the departure. The possibility is high that the dust of the asteroid was collected in a sample capsule at the occasions of touch down twice, so it is still highly expected for Hayabusa to come back to earth, however long it may take.

Edit: One more source, a good recap of the decision to delay: Planetary Society: Planetary News: Asteroids and Comets (2005) Hayabusa: JAXA Delays Departure of Injured “Falcon” to 2007 (http://planetary.org/news/2005/1214_Hayabusa_JAXA_Delays_Departure_of.html)

2005-Dec-15, 09:48 PM
I'd just scrap the sample return and see just how close I could get and take as many photos as possible so that you would have a good computer model here.

2005-Dec-16, 01:07 AM
This is definitely bittersweet. It's a serious loss (I doubt it will make it back even with the delay), but it could have been much worse, and a great deal of valuable data has been returned. And hey, they did get to put their names on the rock. :)

2006-Mar-07, 05:54 PM
Japan Contacts Asteroid Probe (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060307/ap_on_sc/japan_asteroid)

Japan's space agency said Tuesday it had re-established partial contact with a problem-plagued probe sent to collect samples from an asteroid, but a fuel leak could cut communications again.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said it had established sufficient contact with the Hayabusa probe to assess its condition and position.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2006-Mar-07, 08:42 PM
I can't read much Japanese but here goes ( checking out the Japan webpage )

The Japanese think the Hayabusa battery cannot be used now and the Lithium ion battery has been completely discharged and part of cell in the battery has semi-short-circuited. Right now the Japan probe is approximately 190,000,000 km from the Sun and the distance from the earth is approximately 330,000,000 km. They had trouble with the angle between antenna axes of the explorer and the sun but communication between "Hayabusa" and the earth has gradually improved
The data before and after landing at Itokawa has not been found and it is thought that the information was lost due to a power-failure mentioned in a pervious report. Fuel has been lost and fuels and oxidants from the probes thruster seem to have leaked away. Hayabusa is about 13,000km from the asteroid now and is still departing from Itokawa at a speed of about 3m per second. Even though they have lost a lot of fuel they have considered the possibility that an amount of leaking propellant or oxidant still remains for a return trip. If nothing else goes wrong the Japan craft is expected to return to the Earth in June 2010

The NASDA or JAXA website seems to have illustrations of the spacecraft position, solar angle and the terrestrial angle, plus the direction the probe is going now.

2006-Mar-08, 07:43 AM
English version is up.

JAXA: Current Status of Hayabusa Spacecraft - Communication and Operation Resumption (http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/snews/2006/0308.shtml)

The communication gradually has been improved and the telemetry data were received via Low Gain Antenna on February 25th with the speed of 8 bps. And on March 1st, a radio range measurement was correctly obtained. On March 4th, the telemetry data were received with 32 bps via Medium Gain Antenna (MGA)-A.

Based on those range data obtained along with the Doppler measurement, the orbit was determined / estimated successfully after three months hiatus. Hayabusa currently is at 13,000 km leading the Itokawa toward its revolution direction from it. And Hayabusa flies about 3 meters per second with respect to the Itokawa. Hayabusa is at 190 million kilometers from the Sun, and is at 330 million kilometers from the Earth.
The Xenon gas remained aboard is estimated about 42 to 44 kg. As long as no further gas eruption occurs, the existing gas amount suffices the cruise flight ahead to the Earth. Note still ion engines, star tracker, attitude control computer and so on all have not gone through the functional verification after this gas eruption accident, while those must have been exposed to extreme low temperature between December and January.

2006-Mar-08, 09:56 AM
Well, even if the mission is a failure, I'm sure they're getting lots of experience from it. Something must have gone quite wrong during the touch down as it seems?

2006-Mar-08, 01:03 PM
Well, even if the mission is a failure...
I see this mission as a major success. They might not get the few milligrams of asteroid dust back to Earth, but they sent a mission on a shoe-string budget and got great science done on a class of asteroid that we've never looked at before, including some great images.

2006-Mar-08, 03:42 PM
What you consider a failure or success depends on the goals you set out. There is a difference between a mission with great scientific/engineering/social return, and a successfull mission.

That's why to me Apollo 13 was definately NOT the greatest success of the US space program. The only part of the mission that they did succeed in was "...and get them back alive". The rest of the mission was a failure. Still, the mission had a great return in areas such as crisis management and crisis engineering. I do recognize that getting the astronauts back alive was a fantastic achievement. But even the greatest crisis handling ever does not make the Apollo 13 mission a success.

I don't know in how far getting a sample and returning it was seen as a major goal for the Hayabusa mission, as well as deploying the rover.

If these things were major goals, the mission is not a major success. If the mission was described as a demonstrator in which learning from actions was more important than the actions themselves, the mission certainly was a major success. Also if getting to the asteroid was the only primary objective it is a major success.

But whatever the exact goal description is, they get a lot of scientific and engineering return for there money. Hayabusa was and is certainly a very good investement of time, effort and money.

2006-Mar-08, 03:58 PM
While the scientific knowledge of near-Earth asteroids will be significantly advanced by the Hayabusa mission, the primary goals are to test four advanced technology systems: the electric propulsion (ion drive) engines; an autonomous navigation system; the sample collection system; and the sample capsule that re-enters the Earth's atmosphere.

- http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/hayabusa.html

By those standards, they've got two out of four with the other two pending, one of which has probably not succeeded.

2006-Mar-20, 05:52 PM
New data reveals mysteries of asteroid Itokawa (http://www.newscientistspace.com/article.ns?id=dn8868&feedId=online-news_rss20)

Close-up views of asteroid Itokawa taken by Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft at the end of 2005 continue to puzzle scientists. They debated nearly every aspect of the asteroid – including its formation, age and composition – during the first major release of mission data on Friday.

Hayabusa was designed to bring the first asteroid samples back to Earth by firing pellets into the space rock and scooping up the resulting debris. But it probably failed to fire any pellets during two landings on Itokawa in November 2005, making it unlikely to have captured much – if any – rocky debris.

However, the spacecraft took high-resolution images, spectra and density measurements of the 550-metre-long space rock, and mission scientists presented the observations at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas, US.

2006-Mar-21, 03:50 AM
Planetary Society Weblog: LPSC: Friday: Hayabusa (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000503/)

Launch window
2006-Mar-23, 08:12 AM
- http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/hayabusa.html

By those standards, they've got two out of four with the other two pending, one of which has probably not succeeded.

very good mission

2006-Mar-27, 06:29 PM
Historic Japanese Asteroid Data Amaze Researchers (http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/032706p2.xml)

Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft that landed twice on the asteroid Itokawa found it to be a "rubble pile" of 4.5-billon-year-old planetary debris that loosely coalesced only about 10 million years ago, rather than a much older intact body like previous asteroids visited.

This means researchers discovered--180 million mi. from Earth--a new baby of the solar system. It's just one of many findings from the $100-million mission that will affect theories on the formation of planets and small bodies around the Sun and other stars.

In addition to being perhaps the youngest known object in the Solar System, the asteroid is likely a "contact binary--a joined pair of earlier separate objects--the first such conjoined twins ever viewed up close in deep space. The juncture between two objects is clearly visible as a smooth neck area between a rounded head and an elongated body. There are plenty of rocky boulders up to 150 ft. in diameter, but minimal evidence of significant craters and regolith that would show the object to be older.

2006-Mar-27, 09:37 PM
They chose a nice object there! And they're good at doing the most they can with the results of the missions, not being put down by things that did not succeed.

Japan and the world are learning a lot from this mission.

2006-Jun-01, 07:06 PM
Rubbly Itokawa revealed as 'impossible' asteroid (http://www.newscientistspace.com/article.ns?id=dn9257&feedId=online-news_rss20)

The small asteroid Itokawa is just a loosely packed pile of rubble that collected after a collision between asteroids, according to a slew of new studies based on data from Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft. The asteroid appears to be plagued by recurring impacts and tremors today, making its continued survival a mystery.

2006-Jun-05, 05:09 PM
Hayabusa does have enough power to fly home (http://www.newscientisttech.com/article.ns?id=dn9269&feedId=online-news_rss20)

Japan's problem-plagued Hayabusa spacecraft has enough power to make it back to Earth, tests on two of its four ion engines have revealed.

If the craft does return as planned in 2010, researchers would finally find out whether it collected the first-ever samples from an asteroid during its two landings on the tiny space rock Itokawa.

2006-Jun-05, 05:34 PM
I'd read that. Sometimes this mission has been reported in such a way as to keep expectations low (and to hide the success). This is a pretty cool mission, and I'll still think so if they recover it and discover no asteroid dust made it home.

2006-Jun-09, 07:37 PM
Sample return missions are tricky beasts with a lot of chances for things to go awry, need I remind anyone about some issues we had with a sample return mission in Utah last year?

Given the science this one's managed to pull off despite the troubles with the touch and go attempt, this one's in the win column.

2006-Jun-09, 10:04 PM
Unfortunately, it keeps getting described in the media as "problem-plagued", which is unfortunate and unfair.

2006-Jun-10, 01:56 AM
That's a lot like the press always using "plutonium-powered" or "nuclear powered" to describe Cassini.

See you in 2010, HAYABUSA!

Now, where did I put that MWGCSSET?*

*Media Writer's Guide for Covering and Sensationalizing Scientific and Engineering Topics

2007-Jan-26, 04:14 AM
Emily Lakdawalla, Planetary Society Weblog Hayabusa Update (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000839/):

Science journalist Shin-ya Matsuura said, translated:

Preparation for the return trip is currently under way. From what I heard, recharging the damaged battery, which has been considered to be the most risky part, is almost done. The next critical step will be closing the sample capsule using power supply from recharged battery. [...] Considering that the return trip operation should be started in February, I guess they will attempt to close sample capsule by the end of this month (January) and make a press release.

2007-Jan-30, 07:25 PM
Another update from Ms. Emily at the Planetary Society:

Hayabusa update: Sample container is ready for return to Earth (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000844/)

JAXA has issued a press release (http://jspace.misshie.jp/index.php?Isas%2F20070130) (in Japanese -- here's the Google translation (http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.isas.ac.jp%2Fj%2Fsnew s%2F2007%2F0130.shtml&langpair=ja%7Cen&hl=en&c2coff=1&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools)) stating that they have achieved some of the milestones necessary to return Hayabusa (http://www.planetary.org/explore/topics/hayabusa/)'s sample container to Earth. JSpace helpfully provided English translations of some of the key points (http://jspace.misshie.jp/index.php?Isas%2F20070130) of the lengthy release:

Four of the 11 lithium ion battery cells are dead.
The healthy cells have been recharged successfully.
Under power from the successfully recharged batteries, Hayabusa's sample container has been moved into the reentry cupsule and its lid has been closed successfully.
ISAS/JAXA is working on preparation for the return to the Earth.

2007-Jan-30, 07:27 PM
go for it! Even if it turns out to be empty, it's a good exercise.

2007-Feb-14, 07:35 PM
Hayabusa probe to attempt return journey (http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn11181-hayabusa-probe-to-attempt-return-journey.html)

Japan's problem-plagued Hayabusa spacecraft will attempt to return to Earth at the end of March, mission controllers say.

If the craft does return as planned in 2010, researchers would finally find out whether it collected the first-ever samples from an asteroid during its two landings on the tiny space rock Itokawa.

Launch window
2007-Feb-16, 09:30 AM
I wonder if the mission would have gone differently if the guys at NASA or JPL did the miniature rover as part of the Hayabusa mission much like the originally planned joint mission between the US and Japan.

2007-Feb-16, 11:14 PM
The hopper mission was technically challenging, Itokawa a difficult target, and the Japanese are world leaders in many aspects of robotics. There is no reason to think that JPL would have done any better (except jingoism of course).


2007-Feb-16, 11:27 PM
The hopper mission was technically challenging, Itokawa a difficult target, and the Japanese are world leaders in many aspects of robotics. There is no reason to think that JPL would have done any better (except jingoism of course).


Comparing Japanese robotics to JPL robotics is like comparing the space shuttle to the Soyuz. Sure, more bells and whistles, but simplicity and experience gives the Soyuz a nuts and bolts level reliability edge.

Unless they want to transplant a few gaijin to help'em get a leg up, they're going to have to take what they know about robotics, which is quite extensive, and figure out how to harden them to this rather hostile environment. Look at how much behind the cutting edge NASA's stuff has to be in order to work in space, they may just be overestimating how much their machinery can be put through, which is fine, its a heck of a learning curve, but its nothing insurmountable with a little patience.

Long term guesstimate on their abilities, I'd bet they might just put the first footsteps on Mars without ever launching a single human.

2007-Feb-17, 04:53 PM
It may be worth noting that the lander (hopper) itself did not malfunction but was released in a situation that made it impossible to reach the surface. If my memory serves me well the lander was realeased according to schedule after Hayabusa had made a drift correction (unscheduled, determined by need). The velocity vector resulting from this burn (directed away from Itokawa) left the lander above escape velocity. If this recollection of events is correct, then the problem was in the procedure design not checking the actual situation before release. I can imagine some excited eyes ploughing through the Rosetta software after this mishap. :)

2007-Mar-20, 11:30 PM
During the very first observations of Rosetta’s flyby target 2867-Steins in March 2006 the onboard camera OSIRIS obtained the most accurate ‘light curve’ of this asteroid so far.
OSIRIS observed Steins from a distance of 159 million kilometres and, from there, it obtained images and important clues about its characteristics.
Although ESA’s Rosetta is still far away from its destination comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and its flyby targets 2867-Steins and 21-Lutetia, scientists have already started to collect preliminary data about these two largely unexplored asteroids. Advanced knowledge of the asteroids’ properties (like size and rotation period) is essential for the preparation of the planned asteroid observation campaigns in September 2008 and July 2010, respectively.

Read more (http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMCC2R08ZE_index_0.html)

2007-Apr-05, 06:08 PM
Hayabusa update: Return trip to begin in mid-April (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000937/)

This is an update that was posted on the JAXA website yesterday:

Since February, JAXA [has] tried a new attitude control method to operate the ion engine, and engine running trials in phases have been underway since late March.

It is scheduled to start fully fledged engine operations in mid April to return to Earth.

The operation of the Hayabusa is still undergoing difficulties, but JAXA will do its utmost to make the explorer return home in June 2010.Go Hayabusa (http://www.planetary.org/explore/topics/hayabusa/)! (For the curious, here's some background on the status of Hayabusa (http://www.planetary.org/news/2006/0309_Hayabusa_Team_ReEstablishes_Contact.html).)

2007-Apr-07, 07:02 PM
I was reading about the return of Hayabusa yesterday. It will be a real feather in JAXA's cap if they can manage to get their probe home - with or without samples.:) Naturally it would be a tremendous success if they could get return samples home to study.

2007-Apr-07, 08:14 PM
A similar mission HAS to be on the Discovery program agenda next time around.


2007-Apr-09, 07:35 PM
More details on the status of Hayabusa (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000939/)

Last week I mentioned that JAXA is talking about an attempt for Hayabusa to return to Earth (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00000937/). An English translation of a press release dated April 4 showed up on the JAXA website (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2007/0406.shtml) over the weekend with some fascinating details; Hayabusa (http://www.planetary.org/explore/topics/hayabusa/) continues to be an amazing story of patient perseverance by its engineers in their determination to try everything to recover an ailing spacecraft against the odds. Here are a few key details; the release includes more, as well as a slide presentation with some diagrams.

2007-Apr-09, 07:40 PM
I still think this image (http://www.planetary.org/image/itokawa_1110-6-1.jpg) is one of the coolest ever!

some supporting text (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2005/1110_hayabusa.shtml)


Kullat Nunu
2007-Apr-12, 08:44 PM
It is hard to comprehend how tiny the asteroid actually is...

2007-Apr-12, 09:34 PM
It is hard to comprehend how tiny the asteroid actually is...

Until they ask you to move that big old rubble pile from here to over there.

Reminder of old link to 1 pixel/meter image of a potato representing Itokawa, along with a scale-model Hayabusa and a 2-pixel tall "human": Itokawa model (http://gonzaburou.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2005/12/post_1ce0.html)

Kullat Nunu
2007-Apr-14, 08:40 PM
Everything is relative...

Eros looks very smooth compared to Itokawa, but as the final images from NEAR Shoemaker showed its surface is full of boulders like Itokawa's.

Kullat Nunu
2007-Apr-24, 10:24 PM
Incredible rotating 3D animation (http://hayabusa.sci.isas.jaxa.jp/data/shape/movies/itokawa_g070104.mov) of Itokawa.

Kullat Nunu
2007-Apr-24, 10:27 PM
Apparently the Japanese are going to build a new asteroid mission, Hayabusa 2. Its target will be another tiny asteroid, 1999 JU3.

Launch window
2007-Apr-27, 04:37 PM
Incredible rotating 3D animation (http://hayabusa.sci.isas.jaxa.jp/data/shape/movies/itokawa_g070104.mov) of Itokawa.

looks great, thanks for this

I hope their next mission has some better luck

Kullat Nunu
2007-Apr-27, 05:10 PM
Luck in the form of more bucks helps a lot.

2007-Apr-30, 06:05 PM
Hayabusa starts fully fledged return trip to Earth (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.rss.html?pid=22533)

Since February 2007, JAXA has been carefully preparing to start the fully fledged return trip to Earth using the ion engine and one attitude control reaction wheels (as two of the three wheels are unavailable due to anomalies.) The Hayabusa's return to the Earth is scheduled for June 2010.

We have faced challenges during the preparation, for example, the establishment of the attitude control that can maintain the alignment of the ion engines thrust vector took more time than expected, and more study was required to set up the operation method of the ion engine in consideration of its aged deterioration. We are now ready to start the return cruise operation with countermeasures for these problems.

Therefore, we would like to announce that on 2:30 p.m. on April 25 (Japan Standard Time) the Hayabusa was shifted to the fully fledged phase for the return cruise to Earth.

The operation is still challenging as we have to carefully monitor the conditions of the only active reaction wheel, the ion engine, and onboard equipment. We will operate the Hayabusa with the greatest care and utmost effort.

2007-Aug-22, 06:44 PM
Successful re-ignition of Ion Engine C onboard Hayabusa (http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2007/0820.shtml)

On July 28, 2007 a series of the restoration works and a new operation sequence revived the ion engine C again, which are accelerating Hayabusa on behalf of the engines B and D aiming for the Earth return on 2010. Sharing the delta-V duty among the multiple engines will secure a safety flight for the homeward journey.

The text is rather confusing, but the gist, according to Ms. Emily at the Planetary Society (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001102/) is that Hayabusa, once down to one functioning ion engine, now has three.

2007-Aug-22, 07:15 PM
Is this the apollo 13 of unmanned missions? :)

The top would be to have actually taken samples, because that's still very uncertain.

2007-Aug-22, 09:53 PM
Is this the apollo 13 of unmanned missions? :)

The top would be to have actually taken samples, because that's still very uncertain.

To be a better analogy, I think it would have to not take samples. After all, Apollo 13 didn't accomplish its primary goals.

2007-Aug-22, 10:14 PM
I thought about that when typing it :).

But still, I hope for Japan that they are able to return the mission and find some samples, if only some dust, but something. Of course, getting it back empty after all the trouble they had would be excellent, but let's hope for even more :).