Hayabusa2 launches an ion engine for his trip home

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The work of the 2nd ion engine has begun. This is an important operation to bring Hayabusa2 back to Earth. On May 12, 2020, the ion engine began operating at 01:00 Moscow time, and at 01:25 Moscow time it was confirmed that it was working stably.

Currently, only one ion engine is operating, since the spacecraft is far from the Sun and receives low levels of solar energy for the operation of ion engines.

The operation of the second ion engine will continue until approximately September of this year. After that – from October of this year – we will perform precise guidance using chemical engines.

In December 2020, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 will return to Earth and, before entering the Earth’s atmosphere (during which it burns down), will release a sealed capsule containing samples from two different places on the Ryugu asteroid. During entry, the capsule will slow down with the atmosphere of the earth and a parachute, after which it will land in Australia.

It will take quite a bit of time before he returns to Earth.

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