Powered flight of electron cyclotron resonance ion engines on hayabusa explorer

Hitoshi Kuninaka, Kazutaka Nishiyama, Ikko Funaki, Tetsuya Yamada, Yukio Shimizu, Ju N.Ichiro Kawaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


The electron cyclotron resonance ion engine has long life and high reliability because of electrodeless plasma generation in both the ion generator and the neutralizes Four μ 10s, each generating a thrust of 8 mN, specific impulse of 3200 s, and consuming 350 W of electric power, propelled the Hayabusa asteroid explorer launched on May 2003. After vacuum exposure and several baking runs to reduce residual gas, the ion engine system established continuous acceleration. Electric propelled delta-V Earth gravity assist, a new orbit change scheme that uses electric propulsion with a high specific impulse was applied to change from a terrestrial orbit to an asteroid-based orbit In 2005, Hayabusa, using solar electric propulsion, managed to successfully cover the solar distance between 0.86 and 1.7 AU. It rendezvoused with, landed on, and lifted off from the asteroid Itokawa. During the 2-year flight, the ion engine system generated a delta-V of 1400 m/s while consuming 22 kg of xenon propellent and operating for 25,800 h.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-551
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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