Unmanned Spacecraft “Hayabusa” returned to Earth...
Recently, there was an epoch making news which many of Japanese people, including me, sent their heart out to aerospace as if parents waited a return of their child from a long journey. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) launched a spacecraft in May 2003, which voyaged to an asteroid named Itokawa 300 million kilometers away from the earth. The mission was to capture an asteroid sample and return to Earth for analysis. The spacecraft
was named Hayabusa which means peregrine falcon in Japanese, designed and manufactured in Japan which has 510kg weight. The Hayabusa returned to Earth on 13 June 2010 after 7 years journey overcoming significant difficulties, as somebody said it was a miracle. The Hayabusa touched down to the asteroid Itokawa and there is a possibility it captured a dust sample in a chamber. The shielded chamber was recovered in Woomera, South Australia, and under analysis in Japan now. It will take several months to know the result.
The return of Hayabusa was a bright and so impressive news for Japanese people in recent days, and gave a confidence to the people in the advanced technology for newly developed ion engine which made a miracle return possible and the technologies to control the spacecraft, etc. This project was supported by Japanese IT companies which are also CICC member companies in design, manufacturing, supply, system integration and operation. The government once cut the budget for the next project due to cost cut review for government spending, but could recover it due to people’s voices after the successful return of Hayabusa. I hope the asteroid sample could be found in the chamber, and can get some useful information to analyze the history of planets.