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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hayabusa 2: So Close to Launch...

At the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, JAXA's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is about to be encapsulated by the payload fairing of its H-IIA launch vehicle...on November 17, 2014.
JAXA

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!!! Just thought I'd share these photos of Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft as it gets prepped for launch at the Tanegashima Space Center in the southernmost part of the country. Hayabusa 2 is set to lift off aboard an H-IIA rocket this Saturday night (which will be Sunday afternoon in Japan), and will arrive at its celestial target—asteroid (162173) 1999 JU3—in July of 2018. Hayabusa 2 will gather samples from the surface of this asteroid before departing in December of 2019 and returning to Earth in December of the following year. Let's cross our fingers that Hayabusa 2 will have a smooth trip to and from 1999 JU3...unlike Hayabusa 1, which miraculously was able to reach Earth after suffering problems pertaining to its propulsion system, reaction wheels and other equipment as it concluded its mission at asteroid Itokawa almost a decade ago. Godspeed, Hayabusa 2... Here's hoping that JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) will enjoy as much success with this endeavor as Europe has with its Rosetta mission, even though it remains to be seen if the Philae lander will ever wake up from hibernation on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. (Google the full story on that.) Anyways, I'm lookin' forward to grubbin' down on shrimp cocktail during lunch today! Oh, and delicious turkey.

At the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, the payload fairing of the H-IIA launch vehicle is about to encapsulate JAXA's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft (not visible)...on November 17, 2014.
JAXA

At the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, JAXA's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is about to be encapsulated by the payload fairing of its H-IIA launch vehicle...on November 17, 2014.
JAXA

At the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, JAXA's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is about to be encapsulated by the payload fairing of its H-IIA launch vehicle...on November 17, 2014.
JAXA

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