Feeds

New flight control problem for Japan's asteroid probe

All a question of attitude

Top three mobile application threats

Doubts were raised yesterday over the future of Japan's asteroid sample and return mission, as the spacecraft lost another part of its attitude control system. The news has prompted concern that the craft won't be able to make its planned landing on an asteroid next month.

The Hayabusa spacecraft, specifically designed to collect a sample from the Itokawa asteroid and return it to Earth, lost the second of its three reaction wheels earlier this week.

With only one functioning wheel left, Hayabusa will have to rely more heavily on its chemical propellant thrusters to keep it oriented in space.

The probe, which is now some 305m kilometres from Earth and just 6.8km from its final target, has completed most of its scans of the asteroid. Mission controllers hope that it will be able to take more high resolution images in the coming weeks.

Conservation of fuel will be paramount, and may lead to alterations of the mission profile. Attitude control will be managed by combining two reaction control systems with the remaining functional reaction wheel.

The original plan involves two touchdowns on the Itokawa asteroid in November. At each touchdown, the craft will fire a pellet at the rock and collect the dust sent up by the impact.

Hayabusa will begin its return journey to Earth this December, and all being well, is expected back on Earth in June 2007. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.