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Thread: Hayabusa 2 and 1999 JU3

  1. #1
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    Hayabusa 2 and 1999 JU3

    With Hayabusa 2's launch only six weeks away, this is a thread for that launch. Though it'll probably lay dormant for a couple years while Hayabusa cruises around space

    Official JAXA Hayabusa 2 site with launch countdown:

    JAXA | Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2"

    Attachment 38298

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    Pictures of the three microsatellites being launched with Hayabusa 2 can be found here.

    Procyon, the largest among the three, will fly by another near-earth asteroid. It will initially use the same heliocentric orbital trajectory as Hayabusa 2, but will then use its propulsion system to fall back towards Earth (flyby around end of 2015) and use a gravity assist from Earth to approach its target asteroid on a near-ballistic flyby path. The specific target asteroid will be decided upon before the Earth flyby, with the asteroid flyby occuring during 2016.
    The target asteroid can be located anywhere between 0.9 and 1.5 AU from the sun and within +- 8.5 incliniation from Earth's plane of orbit, which limits the target selection somewhat. The selection is further limited by the fact that Procyon may not impact Mars after the flyby due to planetary protection protocols. In case the propulsion system fails to make the Earth flyby - Procyon is mostly an engineering test vehicle - the probe will instead attempt to directly approach a near-earth asteroid. Current possible candidates include 2000 DP107, 2010 LJ14 and 2002 AJ29. These are small asteroids in the 500-1000 meter diameter range. The flyby would occur at around 10 km distance, 30 km in the non-gravity-assist scenario.

    At 65 kg weight, Procyon is mostly a study in how small one can design an interplanetary spacecraft involved in NEA exploration.

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    MASCOT, Philae's little brother, was installed onboard Hayabusa-2 last week:

    Attachment 38433
    (Image credit: DLR)

    MASCOT will be the first lander actually deploying on the surface of an asteroid and conducting science there - even if only for a brief 12-16 hours. All previous missions to asteroids - and all planned missions until the landing in 2018 - have only involved "touch-and-go" sample retrieval without landing, or, in one case, landing without carrying instruments for surface science.

    Like Philae, MASCOT can turn in place to optimize its position. Unlike Philae, it is also capable of hopping across the surface, with at least two site changes planned during operations.

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    Launch postponed by minimum one day due to icy particles in clouds over launch site (read: incoming hailstorm).

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    Launch went successful yesterday.

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    Commissioning tests of the ion engines onboard went successful at the end of the year.

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    According to Japanese newspapers, JAXA has apparently chosen (185851) 2000 DP107 as the target for Procyon. 2000 DP107 is a binary asteroid consisting of a 800m diameter primary and a 300m diameter secondary.

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    Just as an update:

    Procyon's ion engine failed in May. The assumed failure lays in a small piece that hit it or flaked off and is wedged inbetween the two accelerator grids, thus electrically shortening the thruster. Procyon is still active, and will still fly by Earth in December.

    Hayabusa 2 is still en-route to its own target. There's currently a JAXA public campaign to rename asteroid 1999 JU3. Names can be proposed here until August 31st.

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    1999 JU3 has been named "Ryugu" by JAXA.

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    Animated gif of the Earth passing by Hayabusa 2 during its flyby in December:

    Name:  topics_20151224.gif
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    Larger version here.

  11. #11
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    JAXA is now developing the second asteroid sample return mission “Hayabusa 2.”it aims at a round trip mission to the C-type asteroid 1999 JU3.

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