Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft will by the country's second attempt at an asteroid sample return mission.
Engineers have rushed to redesign the rock-collector and science payloads of the spacecraft following issues with the original Hayabusa mission which limited the amount of material it was able to collect. It also suffered from a fuel leak, battery issues, communication failures and a problem with its ion engines during it's mission which launched in 2003.
With Hayabusa 2 the space agency is hoping to avoid the faults that crippled its predecessor when it launches in 2014. The 1,320-pound probe will head for asteroid 1999 JU3 which it should reach in 2018, then after an 18-month stay will return to the Earth, arriving home by 2020 carrying a cargo of valuable samples for study.
"Japanese engineers hurriedly redesigned the rock-collector and science payloads on the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft set to launch on an asteroid-sampling mission in late 2014, hoping to trump a problem which limited the load of asteroid rock fragments brought home by a preceding mission."
View: Full article | Source: Spaceflight Now
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