TOKYO (JAXA PR) — JAXA confirmed Hayabusa2, JAXA’s asteroid explorer rendezvoused with Ryugu, the target asteroid.
On June 27, 2018, JAXA operated Hayabusa2 chemical propulsion thrusters for the spacecraft’s orbit control.*
The confirmation of the Hayabusa2 rendezvous made at 9:35 a.m. (Japan Standard Time, JST) is based on the following data analyses;
・The thruster operation of Hayabusa2 occurred nominally
・The distance between Hayabusa2 and Ryugu is approximately 20 kilometers
・Hayabusa2 is able to maintain a constant distance to asteroid Ryugu
・The status of Hayabusa2 is normal
From this point, we are planning to conduct exploratory activities in the vicinity of the asteroid, including scientific observation of asteroid Ryugu and surveying the asteroid for sample collection.
*Hayabusa2 operation hours: 7:00 a.m. (JST) through 3:00 p.m. (JST), June 27. The thruster operation was pre-programmed in the event sequence earlier on the day and the command was automatically executed.
Japan increased its presence at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah this week, with 21 organizations displaying their capabilities and a presentation by the University of Tokyo about the nation’s smallsat programs.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) participated in the conference for the first time, setting up a booth where the Japanese space agency JAXA, 18 companies and two universities advertised their capabilities (see the list below).
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) will launch America into a new era of exploration to destinations beyond Earth’s orbit. On its first flight, NASA will demonstrate the rocket’s heavy-lift capability and send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into deep space. The agency will also take advantage of additional available mass and space to provide the rare opportunity to send more than a dozen small satellites, called CubeSats, to conduct experiments beyond low-Earth orbit. In addition to the 10 CubeSats announced earlier this year, the agency will be sending three from international partners.
With all the attention that JAXA’s recently launched Hayabusa2 soil sample return mission has received, a secondary spacecraft sent into space along with it on Dec. 3 has been largely overlooked despite its ambitious objectives.
PROCYON, which stands for PRoximate Object Close flYby with Optical Navigation, is a 65-kg (143 lb.) spacecraft designed to demonstrate that micro-satellites can be used for deep-space exploration. In addition to testing out micro-sat systems in deep space, the spacecraft is to conduct a close flyby of an asteroid.