[SatNews] JAXA is reporting that the Hayabusa2, which was launched on December 3, 2014 (JST), is now undergoing the initial functional confirmation.
Basic operations and performance of onboard instruments and ground systems have been tested one by one as of the end of January. Here are some major examples of what JAXA has confirmed...
- Ion engine test operation (one unit at a time)—Four ion engines were being operated ,one by one. A thrust of 7-10 mN was generated on the orbit for the first time.
- Establishing communication by Ka-band communication equipment (between January 5th to 10th, 2015)—Communication was successful between the Hayabusa2 and NASA DSN stations to establish deep-space Ka-band communication for the first time for a Japanese space explorer. Ka-band communication will be used to send observation data during the mission for the Hayabusa2 to stay near the asteroid.
- Ion engine can autonomously operate for 24 hours—Long duration of autonomous operation (*1) with two or three ion engines was tested, and 24-hour continuous operation was attained.The maximum thrust was confirmed to be about 28 mN, which is the expected value.
The explorer is currently in good shape. JAXA will further confirm the coordinated function of multiple instruments of the Hayabusa2, and plans to move to the cruise operation phase (*2) sometime in March.
The JAXA infosite may be accessed at http://global.jaxa.jp/
*1 The autonomous operation is automatic control of an engine without instructions from the ground.
*2 The mode of full-scale navigation operation toward the asteroid through acceleration and orbit control by ion engine thrust.