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Where is the Hayabusa2 Spacecraft right now?

The app above shows you where the Hayabusa2 Spacecraft is today, right this moment, in an interactive animation. It also shows the position of Ryugu, the asteroid that Hayabusa is studying and from which samples will be taken and returned to earth.

You can wind the animation backwards in time to watch its launch (2013). Currently the data supplied by NASA does not look to far into the future, but we will update it periodically.



Dec 2020, Hayabusa2 Successful Sample Delivery

After successfully delivering it's samples. then mission has been extended. It is planned to perform a fly-by of asteroid (98943) 2001 CC21[88] in July 2026 and a rendezvous with asteroid 1998 KY26 in July 2031. The observation of 2001 CC21 (about 400m across) will be a high-speed fly-by of this L-type asteroid, a relatively uncommon type of asteroid. This will be challenging for the fixed camera of Hayabusa 2 which was not designed for this type of fly-by. The rendezvous with 1998 KY26 (about 30m across) will be the first visit of a fast rotating micro-asteroid. The rotation period of this asteroid is about 10 minutes.

11th July 2019, Hayabusa2 Second Sample Retrieval Manoeuvre

JAXA’s Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” performed a second touchdown to collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu on 11 July 2019. The video was created from images captured with Hayabusa2’s CAM-H at intervals between 0.5s and 5s and played back at 10x speed. The first image was taken at an altitude of about 8.5m and the last is from an altitude of about 150m. Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST

5th April - Hayabusa2 Detonates an Impactor at Ryugu

Wide view of Hayabusa2's Impactor creating a crator onthe asteroid Ryugu.Close-up of Hayabusa2's Impactor creating a crator onthe asteroid Ryugu.

Wide and an zoomed in view of Ryugu as Hayabusa2 detonates an impactor. Credit: JAXA.

Hayabusa2 has successfully detonated the SCI (Small Carry-on impactor) over Ryugu and blown a crater in the surface. This ambitious operation involved releasing the SCI and also a remote camera and then manoeuvring the spacecraft out of site of the explosion (to protect it from debris). The camera imaged the explosion (above) a few seconds after detonation. Later on Hayabusa2 was able to move back to the detonation site and examine the crater (see below).

Ryugu Impactor Crator

The results of firing the impactor. A crater in the surface of Ryugu which hayabasu2 will use to obtain sub-surface samples of the asteroid. Credit: JAXA

22nd February 2019 - Hayabusa2 Touches down to collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu.

Hayabusa2 Touchdown Video - This is speeded up, and covers a time period of dome 5 minutes and 40 seconds.

In February the Hayabusa2 touched down on the surface of Ryugu, fired a bullet into the surface to kick up some dust/rock for storage on board, and then safely left the surface. An amazing achievement. For more information on this touchdown, read this Article.

21st January 2019 - Ryugu Surface Features Named

Ryugu Surface Features Ryugu Surface Features

Trinitas and Alice’s Wonderland are nicknames of the MINERVA-II1 and MASCOT landing sites, respectively, and not place names recognized by the IAU. (Image credit:JAXA ?2)

The surface features of Ryugu have now been officially named... The first step in naming a place on a celestial body in the Solar System is to decide on a theme, and have that theme accepted by the IAU. For example, the theme for places on Venus is the “names of goddesses”. During discussions between the domestic and overseas project members, suggestions such as “names of castles around the world”, “word for ‘dragon’ in different languages” and the “names of deep-sea creatures” were proposed for the place name theme on Ryugu. After an intense debate, the theme was selected to be “names that appear in stories for children” and a theme proposal was put to the IAU WG. The proposal was accepted on September 25th 2018. Discussions then moved onto selecting the topographical features to be named and the choice of name.

Since the asteroid name “Ryugu” comes from the Japanese fairy tale of Taro Urashima, many of the names chosen come from the same, or other Japanese stories. Westerners may recognise Cendrillon (French for Cinderella) being used for one of the biggest craters outside the equatorial ridge. For an in depth discussion on the naming process and list of meanings, see this article

25th October 2018 - Hayabusa2 Buzzes the asteroid Ryugu

(Image credit: JAXA)

In rehearsal for it's touch-down on Ryugu, Hayabusa2 films a close approach. Article.

Ryugu surface has many small pebbles

The surface of asteroid Ryugu

Close up view of the surface of Ryugu(Image credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST)

This image shows the surface of Ryugu photographed on October 15 at 22:40 JST using the Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic (ONC-T). The altitude here is about 42m. Article.

3rd October 2018 - MASCOT lands on Ryugu.

MASCOT descends onto asteroid Ryugu.

Credit: Hayabusa2 project, JAXA, University of Tokyo & collaborators.

The small asteroid lander, MASCOT, that was developed in Germany and France, was successfully separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft on October 3 and delivered safely to the surface of Ryugu. After landing, MASCOT acquired scientific data on the asteroid surface, which was transmitted to the MASCOT team via the spacecraft. Scientific analysis of this data is expected to be performed by the MASCOT team from now onwards. Article

21st September 2018, Hayabusa's Rovers successfully descend to the surface and begin hopping about.

Hayabusa Rovers 1A and 1B

Illustration of Rover-1A (back) and Rover-1B (foreground) from MINERVA-II1 as they explore the surface of Ryugu. (Image credit: JAXA)

Hayabusa2 Rover 1A hops on the surface of asteroid Ryugu

Image captured by Rover-1A on September 22 at around 11:44 JST. Color image captured while moving (during a hop) on the surface of Ryugu. The left-half of the image is the asteroid surface. The bright white region is due to sunlight. (Image credit: JAXA).

Hayabusa 2's MINERVA-II1 rovers were deployed on September 21 to explore the surface of asteroid Ryugu. They successfully hopped about taking images and even some video from the surface of Ryugu. Article.

20 July 2018 - Close up of Asteroid Ryugu

Asteriod Ryugu Close Up from Hayabusa2

Asteroid Ryugu from an altitude of 6km. Image was captured with the Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T) on July 20, 2018 at around 16:00 JST. Image credit ?: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.

Hayabusa2 arrived at asteroid Ryugu on June 27, after which the spacecraft remained at a distance of about 20km (the Home Position) to continue to observe the asteroid. During this time, the spacecraft was maintaining a hovering altitude of 20km above the asteroid surface. In the week of July 16, operations were begun to lower this hovering altitude, eventually bringing the spacecraft to less than 6km from the asteroid surface.

The resolution corresponds to about 60cm per pixel. The largest crater on the surface of Ryugu is situated near the centre of the image. You can also see that the surface of Ryugu is covered with a large number of boulders. This picture will provide important information as the team choose the landing site. Full Article (on the official, but non-SSL, Hayabusa2 site).

10 July 2018 - 3D movie of Ryugu released

Asteroid Ryugu (designation number 162173) is a 'spinning top' -type asteroid which was not predicted before the recent images captured by Hayabusa2. A global image of the asteroid as it rotates is shown below as a 3D animation.

3D Movie of Asteroid Ryugu

Animation of the stereoscopic global image of asteroid Ryugu. When viewed through red / blue glasses (blue filter over the right eye), the asteroid should look three-dimensional. The images were captured with the Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T), photographed on June 23, 2018. Image credit ?: JAXA, University of Aizu, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University and AIST.

These animations show the result of sequential images of asteroid Ryugu taken with the ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic) during the final approach to Ryugu on June 23, 2018. Images were captured at approximately 10 degrees increments as the asteroid rotates. The distance from the spacecraft to Ryugu at this time was about 40 km.

If you assemble red-blue glasses (placing the blue filter over your right eye) and look at these figures, Ryugu should appear three dimensional. The overall shape of Ryugu and the undulations of the craters and boulders become very clear.


June 2018 - Hayabusa2 Arrives at Ryugu

Asteroid Ryugu imaged by Hayabusa2

Asteroid Ryugu imaged with the ONC-T. The photograph was taken on June 26, 2018 at around 12:50 JST. Image credit ?: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.

Ryugu is about 1km in diameter and shaped like a spinning top with sides that slope from a wide equator to the poles. Its colouring is shown as a light grey in these images but in reality the asteroid is a much darker shade of grey than shown in these enhanced images. Full Article (on the official, but non-SSL, Hayabusa2 site).

Hayabusa2 Sample Retrieval Mission to Asteroid Ryugu


By Go Miyazaki [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Hayabusa2 is an asteroid sample-return mission operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA. It follows on from the earlier and mostly successful spacecraft "Hayabusa" that returned a sample from asteroid 25143 Itokawa, but addresses weak points identified in that mission.

Hayabusa2 was launched on 3 December 2014 and rendezvoused at near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu on 27 June 2018. It is intended to survey the asteroid for a year and a half, depart in December 2019, and return to Earth in December 2020.

Hayabusa2 carries multiple payloads for science: remote sensing, sampling, and lander/rovers—four small probes that will investigate the asteroid surface.

Videos on Hayabasu2

Hayabasu2 Overview by Scott Manley

A nice overview of the Hayabasu2 mission.

Deep Sample Collection

This animation shows how Hayabusa2 will attempt to get a sample from deeper in the asteroid by dropping a camera, and then dropping an explosive penetrating charge. The spacecraft will then hide behind the asteroid whilst the charge is detonated before returning to the crater and dropping another camera before retrieving a sample. All-in-all a very ambitious process which we hope will go like clockwork.

Hayabasu2 Mission - with focus on MASCOT Lander

A great animation focussing on the German made MASCOT rover.

Hayabasu2 Remote Sensors

An overview of all the remote sensors.

More Information:

Hayabusa2 Project Site
Hayabusa2 - Wikipedia