Hayabusa Hangs On
No official information from JAXA yet.
JIJI press issued an article. Prof. Matogawa replied to a query from media saying JAXA will complete taking necessary data by December 5, and will try to analyze the cause of the malfunction and resume the recovery operation.
Yomiuri says in its editorial that they acknowledge the great achievements of Hayabusa so far, and asking JAXA to plan ambitious exploration missions for Moon, Venus, Mercury and beyond, by "learning" lessons from this "failure" in the thrusters!
Prof. Matowaga says in his column on the Planetary Society of Japan web site that Hayabusa experienced a power down in some of the equipments during 27th to 28th, possibly due to inappropriate orientation of the solar panels of the spacecraft during that period. JAXA/ISAS needs to turn on these equipments one by one. High gain antenna is not available, so he predicts it would not be before Monday that JAXA/ISAS will receive major parts of data.
According to an anonymous posting on Japanese BBS "2ch", Cassini StatusReport(11/22-11/30) supposedly said:
Friday, November 25 (DOY 329):
MUSES-C requested additional Goldstone coverage to support their asteroid touchdown. The Cassini Program was contacted by the DSN schedulers regarding this situation. After discussion it was determined that RSS would be willing to release the end of the DSS-26 Cassini track without significant impact to the RSS ORT or Gravity Science experiments underway today. This worked for all parties involved.
According to another source, JAXA/ISAS used NASA Goldstone DSN for 1 1/2 hours in the evening of November 30. No further reservation of DSN is seen at this moment. JAXA/ISAS is now communicating with Hayabusa with the low gain antenna, and intermittently with the medium gain antenna. The spacecraft is now in "near safe-hold mode", the rotation axis is slightly off the designed axis, which makes the communication with the medium gain antenna difficult due to inappropriate orientation of the spin. But they do receive data with the medium gain from time to time. Hayabusa needs to leave Itokawa by "mid-December". After that, the reentry angle to the Earth becomes much steeper than nominal, and it makes the sample of the asteroid and the return capsule more vulnerable. The status of the thrusters is not disclosed at this moment.
Next press briefing by JAXA/ISAS is not likely on or before December 5.
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