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Hiten-Hagoromo Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Hiten was to fly by the Moon and release its subsatellite, Hagoromo, in a test of the swingby technique for entering lunar orbit. It was also to demonstrate aerobraking and gravity-assist maneuvers and provide data on micrometeorite particles. Its mission was expanded to include flight to the L4 and L5 Lagrangian points of the Earth-Moon system, to place Hiten into lunar orbit, and ultimately to crash it into the Moon's surface.

Accomplishments: Contact with Hagoromo was lost before it was possible to confirm whether it entered lunar orbit, but Hiten accomplished its other objectives. In a flyby of Earth, it conducted the first aerobraking maneuver by a deep-space probe. This mission gave Japan the distinction of being the third nation (after the Soviet Union and United States) to achieve a lunar flyby, orbit, and surface impact.

Key Dates
24 Jan 1990:  Launch (11:46 UT)
21 Feb 1990:  Contact Lost with Hagomoro
19 Mar 1991:  First Aerobraking Manuever
15 Feb 1993:  Lunar Orbit Insertion
10 Apr 1993:  Lunar Impact
Status: Partial Success
Fast Facts
Hiten Facts Hiten was named after a flying, music-playing Buddhist angel. The image of Hiten at right is from a sculpture by Okita Toshiki.

Hiten was Japan's first-ever lunar flyby, lunar orbiter and lunar surface impact.

Japan was the third nation to orbit the Moon.
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Last Updated: 18 Mar 2013