[FPSPACE] Hayabusa 2 launch Monday (Japan time)
morrisjones at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 29 18:33:49 EST 2014
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Saturday it will launch its Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer on Monday.
Although the launch was initially scheduled for Sunday, it was postponed due to bad weather.
The rescheduled liftoff is set for 1:22 p.m. Monday from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.
The six-year space mission will follow a successful one by its predecessor, the Hayabusa, which managed to bring back to Earth rock fragments of the asteroid Itokawa 4½ years ago despite a slew of problems.
The Hayabusa2 will head for a different asteroid, named 1999 JU3, that revolves around the sun mainly between the orbits of Earth and Mars, just like the Itokawa asteroid.
The spacecraft, whose name derives from the Japanese for peregrine falcon, is scheduled to reach the asteroid in mid-2018.
It will stay there for 1½ years to conduct a series of operations, including observations, asteroid rover launches, three landings and sample collections from the asteroid’s surface.
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