Japan Destiny+ mission to the bizarre asteroid Phaethon was delayed as it had to launch this mission the next year which is delayed. Destiny+ is an acronym derived from the “Demonstration and Experiment of Space Technology for Interplanetary Voyage, Phaethon Flyby, and Dust Science”.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission will study the asteroid 3200 Phaethon which is the parent of the famous Germinid meteor shower and interplanetary dust.
Epsilon S is a projected replacement for Japan’s Epsilon solid-fuel rocket. In July, a rocket engine associated with the new launch vehicle exploded during testing causing the delay.
3200 Phaethon is an unusual near-Earth object with characteristics that are skin to both asteroids and comets. As a result, it is a rare source of a meteor show and a valuable research target.
In 2017, an uneven 3-mile-wide piece of granite made a pretty close approach to Earth. It is the source of the Germinids which fall from the sky every December.
Uchinoura Space Centre (USC) will launch the Destiny+ satellite. The spacecraft weighing 1,060 pounds will launch into an elliptical orbit. When it separates from the launch vehicle, it will use a lunar swing-by to accelerate it into deep space powered by four ion engines. Thin-film lightweight solar array panels will also be used.
Destiny+ will fly by Phaethon surveying the asteroid’s surface with telescopic and multiband cameras. The flyby is at a distance of 310 miles and a relative speed of roughly 74,000 miles per hour. Its schedule is for 2029 but JAXA has not supplied a new date.
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