Construction has started on the Hayabusa 2, the successor space probe to the Hayabusa, which moved many Japanese people when it returned to Earth with asteroid samples after a journey filled with problems.
Engineers said they hope the second craft can carry out space missions without all the drama.
“Quality is everything to satellites,” said Shinya Kinoshita, an NEC Corp. official in charge of the company’s space business. “It’s not good to simply move people by overcoming troubles.”
NEC, which is assembling the new space probe, completed the design stage at the end of April and has entered the production process.
Engineers are procuring parts and will soon start to build electronic circuits and other pieces at an NEC factory in Tokyo.
The Hayabusa 2 is scheduled to be launched for an asteroid mission in 2014.
The ion engines that powered the first craft experienced numerous problems. But the new craft will be capable of detecting potential engine trouble and take measures to prevent a breakdown, such as reducing power, NEC said.
NEC is trying to sell its ion engines to a U.S. satellite maker and other companies. The Japanese manufacturer said the success of not only the space journey but also the company’s space business may depend on the performance of the Hayabusa 2 engines.
- « Prev
- Next »