Hayabusa2 on its Way to a Rendezvous With an Asteroid

Hayabusa2 launch aboard a H-2A rocket (Credit: JAXA)
Hayabusa2 launch aboard a H-2A rocket (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) with the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” onboard at 1:22:04 p.m. on December 3, 2014 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately one hour, 47 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the Hayabusa2 to earth-escape trajectory was confirmed.

JAXA received signals from the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” at 3:44 p.m. on December 3, 2014 (Japan Standard Time) at the NASA Goldstone Deep Space Communication Complex (in California) and confirmed that its initial sequence of operations including the solar array paddle deployment and sun acquisition control have been performed normally.

The explorer is now in a stable condition.

The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” is a successor to the “Hayabusa”, which verified various new exploration technologies and returned to Earth in June 2010. The “Hayabusa2” is setting out on a journey to clarify the origin and evolution of the solar system as well as life matter. The “Hayabusa2” will find out more about the world.


With a launch success rate for H-IIA/B launch vehicles at 96.7%, this launch confirms the quality and reliability of the H-IIA/B.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the H-IIA F26.

  • therealdmt

    I’ll be looking forward to following this one when it arrives in 2018 and again when it returns to Earth in 2020.

    Lots of cool stuff going on with this one, from its name (which means Peregrine Falcon, well, Peregrine Falcon II), to the ion engines, to the C-type asteroid destination (thought to have more organic molecules and water than Hayabusa 1’s S-type asteroid destination), to the “explosive device”, the impactor, the tag-a-long German MASCOT lander, a deployable camera (to film the explosion they’ll make whilst the Falcon is hiding on the other side of the asteroid), to the collection of [what had been] subsurface material from the impact crater! and finally to the sample return.