Hayabusa2 Image taken shortly after touchdown, from altitude of 98 feet (30 meters) or less.
Credit: JAXA, Tokyo University, Kochi Univ., Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu Univ., AIST

Hayabusa2 sampler arm operations.
Credit: JAXA/Screengrab Inside Outer Space

Hayabusa2 team celebrates successful asteroid touchdown.

The Israeli lunar spacecraft weighs only 1,322 pounds, or 600 kilograms.
Credit: Eliran Avital

Up and outward bound. SpaceX booster hurls Nusantara Satu satellite, Israeli lunar lander, and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) S5 experimental small spacecraft.
Credit: SpaceX

Credit: SpaceIL


Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer successfully and safely touched down upon Ryugu on February 21st.

Data relayed from the spacecraft confirmed the touchdown, including projectile firing into the space rock for sample collection.

Hayabusa2 then executed a maneuver to place it some distance from Ryugu.




























In the beginning

Back here on Earth, SpaceX successfully hurled SpaceIL’s lunar spacecraft Beresheet (Hebrew for “in the beginning”), on a two-month trek to the Moon.

Israel’s Beresheet is en route to a near-side landing on the Moon in mid-April. If successful, the craft’s landing would be the first non-government lunar touchdown. It was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), along with financial contributions from private donors.

Now outward bound, it’s the smallest spacecraft to ever attempt to land on the Moon, at only 1,322 lbs, or 600 kilograms. Its mission is to transmit photos and video of its new home and conduct scientific measurements.

First orbit around Earth

As of Friday morning, the spacecraft was 69,400 km above Earth, and is starting its way back to begin its first orbit around Earth.

In a statement released today, engineers at the SpaceIL and IAI control room have been conducting many in-orbit tests, and have identified high sensitivity to blinding by the sun’s rays in the star trackers, though this issue is being checked.

On Sunday the spacecraft is expected to conduct its first maneuver around Earth.

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