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Hayabusa stays at 2.5AU from Earth beyond Sun at the end of May 2008.
When we see Hayabusa from Earth, it can be seen at the position of
12 degree apart from Sun. On the other hand Hayabusa should glance
at Earth of 8 degree from Sun.

    <-1AU->     <-- 1.5AU-->

Due to such a long distance between Earth and Hayabusa the
communication time lag reaches about 40 minutes. Hayabusa has kept
its attitude in the spin stabilization without thrust by the ion
engines since last October. So, the Earth tracking center had caught
intermittently the signal form Hayabusa on the particular occasion
for the onboard antenna to point toward Earth in accordance with the
spinning of 10-minute cycle. The small glancing angle between Sun
and Earth from Hayabusa enables simultaneously both Earth pointing
of the onboard antenna and Sun pointing of the solar array. As a
result the continuous communication is established and will be kept
by next March. Hayabusa spacecraft in deep space restores its energy
with low activity for Earth return. On the other hand the Hayabusa
operation team on the ground has just started to prepare for the
capsule retrieval.

Hayabusa Operation Team



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