The Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe was launched today from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Tanegashima Space Center atop H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26.
Under the direction of JAXA, NEC coordinated the system design, assembly, testing and integration support for Hayabusa 2. Moreover, in addition to the design and manufacturing of the overall bus equipment (with the exception of the chemical propulsion systems), NEC also conducted the design and manufacturing of on-board equipment, such as the ion engines, sampler and intermediate infrared camera. Over the next four months, NEC will continue to support initial operations.
Hayabusa 2 aims to arrive at its target asteroid, 1999 JU3, in mid-2018 and return to earth at the end of 2020. The primary objectives of Hayabusa 2 are to explore a C-type asteroid believed to be rich in water and organic matter, return samples to earth and delve into the origins and evolution of the solar system. Furthermore, the mission aims to maintain and further develop deep space round-trip exploration technologies proven by the original Hayabusa.
Since the launch of Japan’s first satellite, Osumi, in 1970, NEC’s track record in the field includes the system development of approximately seventy satellites and probe vehicles. Building on its experience operating the original Hayabusa asteroid probe, NEC aims to continue contributing to the first time discovery of scientific information through Hayabusa 2.
Hayabusa 2’s data processing unit features SpaceWire/RMAP, an advanced interface standard for satellite data communications that was first demonstrated through the Hisaki satellite launched in 2013.