"Hayabusa" Flying Smoothly and Ion Engines Reached 1,000 Operation Hours!
The 20th scientific satellite "Hayabusa (MUSES-C)" launched on May 9, 2003, continues to fly smoothly. As of September 12, 2003, it is cruising at distance 52 million km behind from earth. This distance is equivalent to 140 times the distance between earth and moon.
The three onboard ion engines are also operating smoothly. The three engines reached 1,000 operation hours between September 1 and 12 respectively. The remaining one engine is standby as a backup after completing verification of its initial functions.
"Hayabusa" will implement the earth swingby in May or June, 2004. Then, it will depart bound for the asteroid, targeting arrival in summer, 2005.
Ion engine installed on "Hayabusa" (Box shape one with four engine nozzles)
Operation of ion engine (testing on the ground)
September 17, 2003