Hayabusa2 to Visit Rapidly Spinning Asteroid in Extended Mission

Hayabusa2 spacecraft at asteroid 1998 KY26. (Credit: Auburn University, JAXA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

JAXA has selected a second asteroid for Hayabusa2 to explore after the spacecraft completes its primary mission to Ryugu in December. But, it’s not going to be an easy destination to reach.

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GITAI, JAXA Start Business Concept Co-creation Activities for World’s First Space Work Robot Business

Translated from Japanese with Google Translate

TOKYO (JAXA/GITAI PR) — GITAI Japan Co., Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will identify tasks that require robotics in outer space, and robots that perform these tasks. Aiming to acquire technology and provide services by robots, we will start business concept co-creation activities under the JAXA Space Innovation Partnership and and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative.

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JAXA to Send 8K Camera on Martian Moons Exploration Mission

Martian Moons mission approaches Deimos. (Credit: JAXA/NHK)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) have decided to jointly develop a “Super Hi-Vision Camera” that is capable of filming 4K and 8K images in space for JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission.

This would be the first time in history that 8K ultra high definition images of Mars and its moons are taken in proximity. By combining the actual flight data of the MMX spacecraft and the images taken by the Super Hi-Vision Camera, the exploration of the MMX spacecraft around Mars and its moons (the Martian system), 300 million kilometers from the Earth, will be recreated.

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JAXA Delays H3 Rocket’s Maiden Flight

H-III launch vehicle variants (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been pressing forward with the development of the H3 Launch Vehicle. In the process, a technical problem was identified regarding the LE-9 first-stage engine, which is a new engine now under development.

In order to address the problem in an appropriate manner, JAXA has decided to postpone the launch of the first test flight from the Japanese fiscal year (JFY) 2020 to JFY 2021 and that of the second test flight from JFY 2021 to JFY 2022. [Editor’s Note: The 2020 fiscal year ends on March 31.]

JAXA will deal with the LE-9 engine-related problem in an appropriate manner and make an all-out effort for the successful launch of the H3 as a new Japan’s mainstay rocket.

JAXA and Toyota Announce LUNAR CRUISER As Nickname for Manned Pressurized Rover

Conceptual pressurized crewed lunar rover. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA/Toyota PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced today that they have named the manned pressurized rover which is currently under joint research by JAXA and Toyota the “LUNAR CRUISER” as nickname. JAXA and Toyota previously announced and have been conducting joint research on a manned, pressurized lunar rover that uses fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technologies.

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Preparations Continue for SpaceX First Operational Flight with Astronauts

SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi. (Credits: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for the company’s first operational flight with astronauts to the  International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program arrived in Florida Tuesday, Aug. 18. The upcoming flight, known as NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, will be the first of regular rotational missions to the space station following completion of NASA certification.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than Oct. 23, 2020. The spacecraft made its journey from the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne, California over the weekend and is now undergoing prelaunch processing in the company’s facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Preparations are also underway for the mission’s Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX completed a successful static fire test of the rocket’s second stage at its facility in McGregor, Texas, also on Tuesday. The Falcon 9 first stage booster arrived at the launch site in Florida in July to begin its final launch preparations.

The Crew-1 mission will send Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker, all of NASA, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi to the orbiting laboratory for a six-month science mission.

Hayabusa2 Sample Return Capsule to Land in Australia on Dec. 6

Schematic diagram of the Earth return orbit for Hayabusa2 and operations. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — On August 10, 2020, JAXA was informed that the Authorisation of Return of Overseas-Launched Space Object (AROLSO) for the re-entry capsule from Hayabusa2 was issued by the Australian Government. The date of the issuance is August 6, 2020.

The Hayabusa2 re-entry capsule will return to Earth in South Australia on December 6, 2020 (Japan Time and Australian Time). The landing site will be the Woomera Prohibited Area. The issuance of the AROLSO gave a major step forward for the capsule recovery.

We will continue careful operation for return of Hayabusa2 and recovery of the capsule, and the operation status will be announced in a timely manner.

Comment from JAXA President, Hiroshi Yamakawa:

“The approval to carry out the re-entry and recovery operations of the Hayabusa2 return sample capsule is a significant milestone. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the support of the Australian Government as well as multiple organizations in Australia for their cooperation.

“We will continue to prepare for the successful mission in December 2020 in close cooperation with the Australian Government.”

Japanese Cargo Craft Completes Space Station Mission

The International Space Station is seen on June 30, 2020, orbiting almost directly above Marfa, Texas, on a southeastern orbital trek that would take it over Mexico and across South America. In the foreground, is the “Dextre” fine-tuned robotic hand with Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) behind it. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Eleven years after the launch of the first H-II Transfer cargo vehicle (HTV) to the International Space Station, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) HTV-9 departed the orbital laboratory today at 1:36 p.m. EDT.

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NASA TV to Air Departure of Japanese Cargo Ship from Space Station

The International Space Station is seen on June 30, 2020, orbiting almost directly above Marfa, Texas, on a southeastern orbital trek that would take it over Mexico and across South America. In the foreground, is the “Dextre” fine-tuned robotic hand with Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) behind it. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Eleven years after the launch of the first H-II Transfer cargo vehicle (HTV) to the International Space Station, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) HTV-9 will depart the orbital laboratory Tuesday, Aug. 18, with live coverage beginning at 1:15 p.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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NASA Announces Astronauts to Fly on SpaceX Crew-2 Mission to Space Station

The members of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station. Picture from left are NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and its international partners have assigned crew members for Crew-2, which will be the second operational SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, for the mission. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will join as mission specialists.

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Hayabusa2 Asteroid Sample Return Capsule to Land in Australia on Dec. 6

Schematic diagram of the Earth return orbit for Hayabusa2 and operations. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Dr. Hiroshi Yamakawa, President, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Dr. Megan Clark AC, Head, the Australian Space Agency (the Agency) released a joint statement dated July 14 2020. The statement acknowledges that the capsule of ‘Hayabusa2’ containing the asteroid samples will land in South Australia on December 6, 2020.

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JAXA, Australian Space Agency Sign MOU on Cooperation

CANBERRA, 9 July 2020 (Australian Government PR) — The Australian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) signalling new opportunities to increase space collaboration between the two nations.

The signing took place at a bilateral meeting between the Agency and JAXA, and was later acknowledged at the Australia-Japan Virtual Leaders Meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

Read the full statement below.

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SPARX Innovation for the Future Announces New JAXA Partnership

TOKYO, June 29, 2020 (SPARX Group PR) — SPARX Innovation for the Future Co., Ltd. (SIF)—a subsidiary of SPARX Group Co., Ltd. (SPARX; TSE1: 8739)—today announced a partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which aims to develop the space industry and related sectors through the promotion of open innovation.

Combining the technical expertise JAXA brings as a space agency and the investment and market-trend knowledge of SPARX/SIF, the partnership should help accelerate R&D, expansion, and commercialization in the space equipment and exploitation industries. It also aims to generate sustainable growth and innovation in Japan’s space industry over the medium to long term.

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Space BD to Provide Small Satellite Deployment Service from ISS to ASTROFLASH

TOKYO (Space BD PR) — Space BD Inc., the leading space startup in Japan that provides access to space using the International Space Station Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” and rideshares on Japan’s flagship launch vehicle “H3,” announced that it will provide SmallSatellite deployment service from the International Space Station to ASTROFLASH Inc. ASTROFLASH is a startup that aims to bring space closer to everyday life through the world’s first satellite platform for visual attraction. The two companies have signed the launch service contract.

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