Hayabusa2 Program Wins Two Prestigious Awards

The award for Hayabusa2. Project Manager Tsuda (far left) received the award. (Credit: Hayabusa2 Project)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Hayabusa2 Project has received awards from the Aviation Week Network and the Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences.

The Aviation Week Network’s Laureate Award for Space: Technology & Innovation

The Aviation Week Network is an aviation publishing and event production company based in New York, USA. Every year, the Aviation Week Network recognize people, teams and agencies that have made significant contribution to the field of aerospace. JAXA’s Hayabusa2 Project was selected for one of the “62nd Annual Laureate Awards” under the category for “Space: Technology and Innovation”. People or institutes who receive the “62nd Annual Laureate Awards” are dubbed “2019 Winner” and selected for activity conducted during 2018. Hayabusa2 was chosen for the success of the three small robot landers (the two MINERVA-II1 rovers and MASCOT) after arrival on asteroid Ryugu.

Project Manager Tsuda (left) and Sub-Manager Nakazawa (right). (Credit: Hayabusa2 Project)

The award ceremony took place on March 14, 2019 at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. Project Manager Yuichi Tsuda and Sub-Manager Satoru Nakazawa attended the event, which was held in a party style with a delicious meal. Project Manager Tsuda had planned to arrive in Washington DC the day before, but heavy snow had led to his flight being cancelled. It was thought he would be forced to be absent, but he managed to rush in on an afternoon flight the same day, change into a tuxedo in the car from the airport and be seated in time for the main course, whereupon he was immediately called up on stage to receive the trophy. As with the touchdown of Hayabusa2, the start of the descent was delayed but touchdown was still in time!

Commemorative crystal. (Credit: Hayabusa2 Project)

At the award ceremony, many large and small private companies received recognition. The Grand Prize in the Space category went to a private launch service called Rocket Lab Electron, who took the main prize ahead of even the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers (which won the Space: Science category). The power of overseas private aerospace companies was extremely impressive, so we were particularly honored to receive our own award.

Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences Technical Award

The Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences has annual awards in the categories of best paper, technology and young researchers, with the aim of promoting development in aerospace engineering and the aerospace industry. In 2018, the Hayabusa2 Project Team received the technology award.

Award certificate and commemorative shield. (Credit: Hayabusa2 Project)

Hayabusa2 won the award for progress in deep space navigation technology for small body rendezvous, and the arrival at asteroid Ryugu. That is, the award marks the achievements of Hayabusa2 from launch to asteroid arrival. The technologies recognized for this award included the spacecraft’s ion engine navigation, the deep-space orbit design and guidance technology such as the swing-by and optical navigation, deep-space communication and navigation technology such as DDOR and Ka communication, advanced technology including the solar sail attitude stabilization and the deep-space optical link.

The award ceremony for the 28th Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences (JSASS) was held on April 19, 2019 during the JSASS Annual General Meeting, at the Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo and was attended by Project Manager Tsuda.

While Hayabusa2 has already conducted many activities in the vicinity of Ryugu, and arrival at the asteroid feels quite a long time ago, it was extremely nice to have a spotlight on the “technology to cruise in the Solar System”.