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On November 4th (Wed., Japan Standard Time), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency identified that one of the main ion engines (Thruster D) aboard the Asteroid Explorer “HAYABUSA” had autonomously stopped detecting a high neutralizer voltage owing to degradation. The HAYABUSA was during the second propulsion period in its return cruise back to the Earth in June 2010. Since the anomaly was identified, the project team has been trying to restart the engine while investigation of the causes; however, the engine has not been restarted yet as of today.

JAXA is currently under diagnostic investigation of the ion engines system aboard the HAYABUSA and trying to build an alternative sequence that helps the HAYABUSA return back to the Earth safely. JAXA will inform you of the update as soon as available.

(Note) The HAYABUSA is equipped with four ion engines (Thrusters A through D,) and each thruster is in the following status. In the current plan, two thrusters, Thrusters C and D, would be used in the second propulsion period in return cruise back to the Earth.

  • Thruster A: operation suspended due to instability just after the launch
  • Thruster B: operation suspended due to high neutralizer voltage owing to degradation (since April 2007)
  • Thrusters C and D: Both of them have indicated slight high neutralizer voltage owing also to degradation. Thruster C is currently not driven, but it is operable.


Asteroid Explorer HAYABUSA


Note) The above image is an artist’s concept to show
the three activated ion engines at the same time.

 

Hayabusa completed the correction TCM-2
Jun 8, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa completed the correction TCM-2
Jun 1, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa Caotured its Home Earth
May 17, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa completed the correction TCM-1
May 10, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa successfully completed its initial correction(TCM-0)
May 6, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa about to enter into Earth's gravity sphere
Apr121, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa about to enter into Earth's gravity sphere
Apr 1, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa traversed over south pole and will fly-by at night side of Earth
Mar 26, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa will skim the geosynchronous orbit
Mar 23, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa now at the Final Guidance Phase
Mar 12, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa, passes within half of the Moon's distance
Mar 8, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa, now will pass within Moon's distance
Feb 26, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa is skimming the Moon
Feb 18, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa, Right on the Course
Feb 15, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa will will pass at two times as far distance as to the Moon
Feb 9, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa will approach within 1 million km from Earth
Feb 1, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa Approach in Order with Two More Months of Ion Engines Burn Left
Jan 21, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa on a path passing through Earth's gravity sphere
Jan 14, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa about to enter into Earth's gravity sphere
Jan 8, 2010 Up!!

Hayabusa about to enter into Earth's gravity sphere
Jan 4, 2010 Up!!

more detail

 
 
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