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Special Site : HAYABUSA -The Final Approach- Open!!

Mission Profile

Name (pre-launch in parentheses) HAYABUSA (MUSES-C)
International Designation Code 2003-019A
Objectives Experimental research on new engineering technologies necessary for returning planetary samples (sample return) to earth including electrical propulsion, autonomous navigation, sampler and reentry capsule
Launch Date May 9, 2003
Location Kagoshima Space Center (Uchinoura)
Launch Vehicle
Configuration Weight 510 kg
Dimensions Core 1.0m x 1.1m x 1.6m (Hexahedron)
5.7m full width at deployment of solar paddle

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Orbit Heliocentric
Scientific Instruments
  1. Light Detection And Ranging(LIDAR)
  2. Near Infrared Spectrometer(NIRS)
  3. X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer(XRS)
  4. Wide-view Camera(ONC-W)
  5. Telescopic Camera(AMICA)
  6. Target Marker
  7. Sampler and Reentry Capsule
  8. Small Rover MINERVA
  9. Ion Thrusters
Operation At 15:22 on May 19. 2004 (JST), HAYABUSA approached most closely to the earth at an altitude of 3,700 km over the Eastern Pacific Ocean and performed the powered swing-by by accelerating itself with ion engines. At that time, three cameras (one telecamera and two wide-angle cameras) and one near-infrared spectrometer, which were designed to be used for navigation and scientific observations, photographed the Moon and Earth, while simultaneously performing calibration and performance evaluation of the instruments. In September 2005, the explorer arrived at the asteroid Itokawa about 300 million km away from the earth. In November 2005, it successfully landed on Itokawa. In April 2007, HAYABUSA started full cruising operation to return to earth.
Results Scientific observations were made over the asteroid Itokawa from mid-September through end-November 2005. Four observation instruments from altitudes of 20km to 3km observed Itokawa’s shape, terrain, surface altitude distribution, reflectance (spectrum), mineral composition, gravity, major element composition, etc. The observations provided us with much new information to study the asteroid formation process. By revealing the detailed figure of the most common small asteroid, we acquired important guidelines for future explorations of all types of asteroids.

The scientific observation results were published in a special edition of the U.S. scientific journal "Science," a first for Japanese explorers.