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Hayabusa Mission Topic

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telfrow

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Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft has spotted its quarry - a 630-metre-long asteroid named Itokawa. In September 2005, Hayabusa will try to rendezvous with the asteroid and, eventually, touch its surface.

If it succeeds, Hayabusa will be the first ever mission to bring back samples from an asteroid. Scientists could then compare the raw asteroid material to meteorites on Earth to find a good match. Once Itokawa’s composition and spectra is known, it could help determine the chemical make-up of other asteroids just by comparing their spectral characteristics, recorded by Earth-based observatories.

Unlike NASA’s high-profile Deep Impact probe, which crashed into Comet Tempel-1 on 4 July 2005, Hayabusa has not attracted a lot of public attention. “This is a stealth mission,” says NASA’s Don Yeomans, the US project scientist for the mission. “Nobody knows it’s there.”

Hayabusa’s cameras first sighted Itokawa on 29 July. Currently, the spacecraft is less than 35,000 kilometres from the asteroid. The pictures it has been gathering will help guide the spacecraft to its quarry.

Full story here: http://www.newscientistspace.com/articl ... rget-.html

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yeild. - Tennyson
 
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Philotas

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Thanks for providing that link.<br />I`ve always wondered when Hayabusa was due to reach its target, and now I found it out. <br />It`s in the next month and almost no media coverage! Let`s hope that improves since it`s quite an exciting mission:<br /><br /><font color="yellow">During its initial descent, the spacecraft will also deploy a little hopper called Minerva. For one or two days, the coffee-can-sized device will attempt to make several 10-metre-high hops around the asteroid’s surface, taking temperature readings and snapping pictures. </font><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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telfrow

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As the article states, it's flying under media radar, which is really a shame. It's an exciting mission and the sample return could provide a lot of exciting new info. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <strong><font color="#3366ff">Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yeild.</font> - <font color="#3366ff"><em>Tennyson</em></font></strong> </div>
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">"...it's flying under media radar..."</font><br /><br />Probably not a <b>really</b> bad thing until it's at least on its way back to Earth. Solar flares (IIRC) did a number on it early in the mission and seriously cut back on the lifetime of the probe. Unless they complete the approch/landing/aquisition in a relatively short amount of time and start back -- it won't make it. The Japanese don't want <i>another</i> highly publicized failure, so are likely perfectly content to fade into the background until the mission has a really high probability of success.
 
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vogon13

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Lumpy, angular, mountained, and banded. Weird little goomer.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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j05h

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Could these 'banana' and 'cigar' shaped asteroids be a composite? The two ends are heavier asteroid remains with the mass in-between being ice/rock in a loose rubble. The whole structure is covered in a somewhat flexible layer of pummeled regolith and dehydrated rock. Possible? A proof would be to record one of these objects passing through a strong gravity well. If it ripples and contorts around itself, it would be a composite as described. <br /><br />I'm not a planetary scientist, anyone know what a rubblepile asteroid like that would be described? <br /><br />very interesting shape & structure.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Re: Hayabusa spots its asteroid target

This is the only thread I could find to revive. Things don't look so good for the mission...again :(

Hopes are fading for the return of the Hayabusa space probe after another of its ion thrusters failed last week, leaving just one already-damaged engine to guide the hard-luck spacecraft back to Earth, potentially with the first precious samples of an asteroid.

Hayabusa's four experimental microwave discharge ion engines consume xenon gas and expel the ionized propellant at high speeds to produce thrust. Two of the thrusters already failed before another engine shut down last Wednesday, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Thruster D's failure was caused by a voltage spike due to problems with a neutralization vessel. A similar anomaly triggered the failure of another engine in 2007.

The fourth ion propulsion unit, called Thruster C, was already shut down after signs that it also might succumb to high voltage damage. Engineers are now testing that engine to determine if it is capable of long-duration firings.

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/09 ... ilure.html
 
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earth_bound_misfit

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Re: Hayabusa spots its asteroid target

That's a shame, I really really hope they can get the sample back. Though even if it's a failure I bet the Japanese have learnt hell of a lot from this mission. These Ion drives seem like a great idea, they might just need a little hardening up by the sounds of it.
 
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CalliArcale

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Re: Hayabusa spots its asteroid target

Well, ion drive worked out well for Deep Space 1. And Hall thrusters are increasingly used on commsats.

I also think it's a shame, but I hope they can get it back to Earth all the same. The Japanese are remarkably persistent; they don't give up on these probes until they're really definitely dead.
 
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ihwip

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Re: Hayabusa spots its asteroid target

The next generation ion thrusters are coming. Too lazy to find the link. Hopefully they prove to be much more reliable. They are made using carbon nanotubes. Everything is better with nanotubes! :D
 
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MeteorWayne

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Japanese engineers have devised a plan to combine parts from two partially-failed ion engines to resume the Hayabusa asteroid probe's journey back to Earth.

.........
In a press release Thursday, officials said they will use the neutralizer of Thruster A and the ion source of Thruster B to provide enough power to guide the 950-pound spacecraft home next June.

..............

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0911/19hayabusa/
 
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newtons_laws

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You've got to hand it to the Japanese engineers on this mission - they never give up! Let's hope their latest improvisation works and Hayabusa eventually makes it safely home! :cool:
 
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Space_Invaders

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newtons_laws":2jq3jrk2 said:
You've got to hand it to the Japanese engineers on this mission - they never give up! Let's hope their latest improvisation works and Hayabusa eventually makes it safely home! :cool:
How far away is it right now?
 
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LKD

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I just stumbled over this project's existence. Wow! 6 more months. I am amazed that they landed and (Almost) returned to Earth. Especially with an ion drive.
 
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bushwhacker

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This may be a dumb question, but it's my understanding that an ion drive is really only useable in open space.

Even a small asteroid is going to have a gravity well. How did they get the probe back off? Did they have a chemical motor for the launch?
 
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3488

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bushwhacker":26ibaoed said:
This may be a dumb question, but it's my understanding that an ion drive is really only useable in open space.

Even a small asteroid is going to have a gravity well. How did they get the probe back off? Did they have a chemical motor for the launch?
Hi bushwhacker,

Yes Hayabusa used a chemical to lift off from 25143 Itokawa. The surface gravity of that tiny asteroid is pretty negligible, less than 1/10,000th of a gee, but still enough to overcome the Ion Drive.

Andrew Brown.
 
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MeteorWayne

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From http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1001/11hayabusa/
(See link for full story)
Japanese space officials are expected to announce this week that the probe's return to Earth is becoming more likely. Hayabusa's ion engines will put the craft on a path by about Wednesday to be captured by Earth's gravitational pull sometime in June, according to mission officials.

"We think, as a technology demonstrator, Hayabusa has a big mission of accomplishing a round trip to asteroid," said Junichiro Kawaguchi, Hayabusa's project manager. "And from that point of view, we are about to complete the mission."

Kawaguchi is referring to the Hill sphere, the region of space where Earth's gravity is the dominant force affecting nearby objects. Earth's Hill sphere extends about 1.5 million kilometers, or 932,000 miles, in all directions from the planet.

Entering the Hill sphere does not mean Hayabusa is on course to intercept Earth.

Hayabusa's sole operating ion engine will continue thrusting until March to guide the spacecraft on a razor-thin trajectory to release a hardened capsule for re-entry over Australia. The rest of the refrigerator-sized probe will burn up in Earth's atmosphere.
 
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amezz

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http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missio ... tml#201002 - this looks rather optimistics :)

Febrary 15, 2010
Hayabusa has kept the approach path right on the course targeted to the Earth. The closest approach to the Earth is 600 thousand kilometers as of today. And in a few weeks, Hayabusa will be on the trajectory passing through within the Moon's distance. The ion engines aboard have worked normally last week.
...

 
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EarthlingX

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http://www.physorg.com : Japanese spacecraft to land in Australian outback
An Japanese spacecraft which has journeyed to an asteroid is expected to return to Earth at a remote site in the Australian outback in June, the government said Wednesday.

The unmanned Hayabusa craft, launched by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2003, is expected to touch down near Woomera in South Australia, Defence Minister John Faulkner said.

A rendering file photo of the Japanese space probe Hayabusa which collects surface samples of the asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft which has journeyed to an asteroid is expected to return to Earth at a remote site in the Australian outback in June.
Wiki : Woomera, South Australia
Woomera is an Australian Defence Force facility supporting the RAAF Woomera Test Range, the western world's largest defence systems test and evaluation range, and an Australian strategic national asset. Woomera village is a critical part of the Australian Defence Forces 'Woomera Capability'. The town itself is located in the 'outback' desert area of South Australia, approximately 488 km/305 mls north of Adelaide along the Stuart Highway. It is 177 km north of Port Augusta, and 80 km south of the mining centre of Roxby Downs. The Trans-Australian Railway passes Woomera at the nearby Pimba rail siding.
 
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SpaceTas

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Very similarly worded article appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) web-site in the last few days.

I hope their tracking is spot on and its locator beacon works; because there is lot of empty out there!
 
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EarthlingX

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http://www.isas.jaxa.jp : Return of Sample Recovery Capsule aboard Asteroid Explorer "HAYABUSA"
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) would like to announce that it was issued the Authorized Return of Overseas Launch Space Object (AROLSO) for the Sample Recovery Capsule aboard the Asteroid Explorer "HAYABUSA" from the Space Licensing and Safety Office (SLASO) of the Australian Government on Friday, April 16th.

The capsule is scheduled to return to the Earth in June 2010. According to the latest information, the capsule will reenter into the atmosphere at around 11:00 p.m. on June 13th, 2010, (Japan Standard Time, or 14:00 UTC* on the day) at the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia.

Outline of trajectory guidance based on the latest trajectory plan
(The plan is subject to change due to operational status or analysis.)
JAXA : Hayabusa
 
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