Return of Japanese Asteroid Probe Delayed to 2010
14 Dec 2005
(Source: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)
The status of the Hayabusa, which lost its attitude control when it left the Itokawa, has been gradually clarified. It seems that the attitude was shifted because gas that was generated due to evaporation of leaked propellant within the explorer had spilled out of the Hayabusa. Currently communications with the explorer have been cut off, but we think there is a high possibility that we can restore this if we take our time. Consequently, the project team redesigned the orbit to gain more time to save the Hayabusa. Under the latest schedule, the return to earth is scheduled for June 2010.