Wheel trouble

Tom has been reporting the progress of the Hayabusa spacecraft and its mapping mission of asteroid Itokawa. However, according to BBC News, the craft has lost the second of its three 'reaction wheels'. These are used to maintain a position in space, so when they fail it means that the spacecraft could start tumbling. At the moment the craft is relying on the one remaining wheel and its thrusters, but that uses up precious fuel. I worry that with two wheels gone after only a few months the remaining wheel might not last long enough to complete the mission. It would be a shame because the plan is to return a sample of the asteroid to the Earth.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 07th Oct 2005 (00:49 UTC) | Permalink
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