Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hayabusa Visit 2005

I was checking on Orbit Hangar for new Orbiter add-ons, and I noticed one from Brian Jones that I hadn't seen before, a set of Japanese exploration missions based on the JAXA M-V launch vehicle series (MV Missions). These include the Nozomi mission (which failed to reach Mars), the canceled Lunar-A mission, and the partly successful Hayabusa mission that launched from Japan in 2003 and visited asteroid 25143 Itokawa in fall 2005.

As usual, Brian includes a lot of detail in this add-on, including the M-V launch pad area at Uchinoura and the rubbly and potato-like Itokawa itself. There are animations and multiple scenarios including the chance to land on Itokawa to collect a sample for return to Earth, simulating what Hayabusa apparently failed to complete in 2005. I have only played a bit with Hayabusa, not the other two. This add-on is a great value for the price (which is zero, as usual for Orbiter add-ons and Orbiter itself). Nice work, Brian. I'd like to play some more but I have to pack up and go to sleep. I'll be flying over Japan tomorrow en route from Taiwan to SFO (and eventually back to BOS).

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