Hayabusa2/MASCOT at a glance - Technical specifications and mission timeline

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  • Aufnahmen des Asteroiden Ryugu während der Annährung
    Images of the asteroid Ryugu during the approach

    Images of the asteroid Ryugu acquired between 18 and 20 June 2018 by the Japanese Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic (ONC-T) on board Hayabusa2, during the spacecraft’s approach. Among other things, a large rock with a diameter of approximately 150 metres can be seen protruding from the upper part of Ryugu. This is clearly visible because part of the surface is more reflective. This could indicate differences in the composition of the surface material.

    The ONC was developed and built under the leadership of JAXA in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) with contracted contributions from the company NEC.

Launch of Hayabusa2 spacecraft 3 December 2014
Health check of the MASCOT lander June 2015
Calibration of MASCOT instruments September 2015
Earth fly-by December 2015
Health check of the MASCOT lander July 2016
Calibration of MASCOT instruments November 2016
Health check of the MASCOT lander May 2017
Calibration of MASCOT instruments November 2017
Health check of the MASCOT lander Spring 2018
Hayabusa2 arrives at asteroid 27 June 2018 18-month long stay
MASCOT lands on asteroid Ryugu 3 October 2018
Hayabusa2 collects samples of the asteroid during a short ground contact (possibly several times) 2019
Hayabusa2 to depart from asteroid November/December 2019
Hayabusa2 to arrive at Earth  Late 2020


Hayabusa2 spacecraft, Specifications/Instruments
Type of mission   Asteroid sample return mission
Operator JAXA
Launch date 3 December 2014, 04:22 UTC
Launch site Yoshinobu Launch Complex, Tanegashima Space Center
Rocket H-IIA 202 (Flugnummer F26)
Mission length 6 years, return planned for December 2020
Mission control centre JAXA SSOC (Sagamihara Space Operations Center) 
MASCOT control centre

DLR Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC) 

Launch mass approx. 600 kilograms
Key features
Electric Propulsion System (Ion engine) Used for changing orbit during journey to asteroid as well as return to Earth; engine is energy-efficient, with one tenth of power consumption compared to chemical propellant
Sampler mechanism

SMP to collect samples from surface of asteroid. Cylinder-shaped sampler horn will be lowered to surface, shooting out a small projectile once it makes contact with the surface. Materials ejected will then be collected via a catcher

Target markers Five beanbag-type markers will descend to the asteroid's surface to serve as artificial landmarks prior to landing for the distance measurement of the collision warning system. The target markers are hollow and filled with a granulate that dampens the kinetic energy and thus prevents them from bouncing from the surface.
Re-entry capsule  Container that stores samples from asteroid and will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at 12 kilometres per second. 
Mission instruments
Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) Two-kilogram copper lump to collide with surface of asteroid to make an artificial crater, used to study the inside structure of the asteroid before and after impact; will also be used to sample 'fresh' material underground
Near InfraRed Spectrometer (NIRS3) and Thermal Infrared Imager (TIR)

Remote sensing instruments to measure asteroid from Hayabusa2’s 20 kilometre-distance position. NIRS3 will investigate mineral and water metamorphism; TIR to study temperature and thermal inertia of asteroid 


2 small rovers that will study the asteroid from its surface.


Small lander designed to study the asteroid using four observation devices and move across the asteroid.


MASCOT lander specifications/Instruments 
Dimensions 295 mm x 275 mm x 195 mm
Weight 9.6 kilograms
Target asteroid 162173 Ryugu
Mother craft Hayabusa2
Operators DLR, CNES, JAXA
MASCOT Camera (MASCAM) Wide-angle camera that takes pictures during the descent to the asteroid surface and will provide ground data for the instruments on board Hayabusa2 as well as contextual information for the instruments on board MASCOT. (Institute of Planetary Research, DLR)
MASCOT Radiometer (MARA) The radiometer is used for the high-resolution determination of the surface temperature as well as the thermal changes during the day-night changes on the asteroid. (Institute of Planetary Research, DLR)
Magnetometer (MAG) Determination of the asteroid's magnetic field (Institute of Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics, TU Braunschweig)
Infrared spectrometer (MicrOmega) Determination of the mineralogical composition of the asteroid surface. (Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Université Paris Sud)


The target: Asteroid (162173) Ryugu (formerly 1999 JU3)
Origin C-class asteroid (carbon-rich), near-Earth asteroid of the Apollo group
Discovery May 1999
Discoverer LINEAR (Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research) Team
Shape Approximately spherical with the irregularities expected in small bodies (determined by thermal observations.
Diameter 880 ± 15 metres
Rotation period 7.6 hours
Albedo  0.05 (very low, darker than coal)


Last modified:
04/02/2019 14:14:36



Elke Heinemann
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