The 2,481st Meeting of the Society

September 22, 2023 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Hayabusa2 – Surveys and Samples from Asteroid Ryugu and Beyond

Technologies and Challenges for a Round-Trip Journey to an Unexplored Small Body

Yuichi Tsuda

Project Manager, Hayabusa2 Project
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Sponsored by a PSW Science Member who has asked to remain anonymous


About the Lecture

Hayabusa2 is an asteroid exploration probe, developed and launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which visited a carbonaceous (C-type) asteroid Ryugu in 2018-2019, and returned to Earth in December 2020.

Although the mission faced many hardships due to the unexpectedly severe environment of Ryugu, it finally succeeded in landing and collecting samples from two different locations on the asteroid surface, delivering four mobile robots to the asteroid surface for surface exploration, and generating a very large artificial crater for the impact science and subsurface investigation. In addition, Hayabusa2 brought back to earth 5.4g of Ryugu samples, which are being analyzed by researchers in institutes all over the world, bringing many surprising discoveries. And, after separating the sample return capsule toward Earth, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft continued its flight toward two new asteroids on an extended mission that will produce additional science results.

The talk will cover the mission process, hardships, scientific achievements and the plans for the on-going mission. It will show how scientifically powerful the sample return mission has been and how fruitful such sample return missions can be from both the engineering and the scientific perspectives.

Reading & Media References
(1) Hayabusa2 / Hayabusa2 Extended Mission Project Website

(2) Hirabayashi M. and Tsuda Y. (Eds.) (2022): Hayabusa2 Asteroid Sample Return Mission, Technological Innovations and Advances, ELSEVIER [ISBN: 0323997317
ISBN13: 9780323997317]

About the Speaker

Yuichi Tsuda is currently the team leader of the Hayabusa2 Extended Mission and Professor in the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in the Graduate School of Engineering of the University of Tokyo.

He joined the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in 2003 and has served there first as a research associate, then Associate Professor and now as Professor. He also has been a visiting scholar in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan and as well in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

His research interests include astrodynamics, spacecraft systems, and deep space exploration. He led the development and operation of the Hayabusa2 mission, which successfully brought a significant amount of material from a carbon-rich asteroid for the first time in human history, serving as chief engineer from 2007 to 2015 and as project manager from 2015 to 2022. He also served as deputy lead of the IKAROS mission, the world’s first interplanetary solar sail mission in 2009-2013.

Among other honors and awards, Yuichi’s team received the IAA Laures award in 2017, the Aviation Week Laureate Award in 2019, the Japan Prime Minister’s Commendation in 2020, the IAF World Space Award in 2021.

Yuichi earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees, including his PhD, at the University of Tokyo in Aeronautics and Astronautics.