Hayabusa, the first sample return mission of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was developed to rendezvous with and collect samples from asteroid Itokawa and return them to Earth. The mission was launched in May 9, 2003 from the Uchinoura Space Center and encountered asteroid Itokawa in November 2005. There, it made several attempts at collecting samples in touch and go maneuvers. During one of these attempts the spacecraft unexpectedly lost communication with Earth and crash-landed on the asteroid surface, damaging the spacecraft. Despite this setback, JAXA managed to return Hayabusa safely to the Earth on June 13, 2010.

See the About The Hayabusa Mission section of this site for a list of NASA researchers who participated in the Hayabusa Joint Science team.

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