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Hayabusa spacecraft, which lost the functions of two of three reaction wheels and
bi-propellant thrusters during the proximity operation around the asteroid Itokawa,
sailed across the aphelion with the spin attitude stabilization in 2006. The trial and
adjustment on the non-spin attitude control using both a single reaction wheel and
the ion beam jets have been executed since February 2007. The Hayabusa project
team managed to acquire a skill to cancel the disturbance torque originated from
an ion engine by means of the solar pressure and to establish the operational
scheme. And then Hayabusa spacecraft stated the homeward journey with an ion
engine driven on April 25 2:30PM, 2007 (JST) aiming at the Earth return in 2010.
It stays at the space of 81,000,000 km (0.54 AU) apart from Earth, and 154,000,000
km (1.03 AU) from Sun.

The project team will operate Hayabusa spacecraft paying attention to remaining lives
of components and devices. The onboard microwave discharge ion engines have
executed the following space operations as of April 30, 2007;

Thruster-A: stand-by
Thruster-B: 9,600 hours
Thruster-C: 6,500 hours
Thruster-D: 11,400 hours


 

 

 

 
 
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