Japan again delays launch of asteroid probe

November 30, 2014
In this file photo, a rocket is seen lifting off from the space centre on Japan's southern island of Tanegashima, on May 24, 2014

Japan on Sunday delayed the launch of a space probe designed to mine an asteroid for a second time due to bad weather.

The blast-off of Hayabusa2 was now pushed back by two days to 1:22 pm (0422 GMT) on Wednesday, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

The agency said it decided on the second postponement due to fears of , and warned that the launch could be delayed further depending on the weather.

JAXA had originally planned to launch Hayabusa2 on Sunday, but delayed it to Monday due to a forecast of thick cloud and then announced the latest postponement.

The will begin a six-year mission after its blast-off aboard Japan's main H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in the south of the country.

The 31 billion yen ($260 million) project will send the explorer towards the 1999JU3 asteroid in .

It will blast a crater in the asteroid to collect materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, in the hope of answering some fundamental questions about life and the universe.

Hayabusa2 will take off only weeks after a European spacecraft's historic landing on a comet captivated the world's attention.

It is expected to reach the asteroid in mid-2018 and spend around 18 months near it.

It will also study the surface by dropping . If all goes well, asteroid samples will be returned to Earth in late 2020.

Explore further: Japan asteroid probe to lift off Monday after delay

Related Stories

Bad weather delays Japan asteroid probe lift off

November 28, 2014

Bad weather will delay the launch of a Japanese space probe on a six-year mission to mine a distant asteroid, just weeks after a European spacecraft's historic landing on a comet captivated the world.

Japan to launch space cargo mission Saturday

January 21, 2011

Japan's space agency said it would launch a rocket on Saturday to deliver more than five tons of supplies to the International Space Station, after an earlier postponement.

Bad weather postpones Japan rocket launch

May 18, 2010

Japan on Tuesday postponed the launch of a rocket due to deploy a Venus probe and an experimental "space yacht" propelled by solar particles, because of bad weather at the launch site.

Recommended for you

What happened before the Big Bang?

March 26, 2019

A team of scientists has proposed a powerful new test for inflation, the theory that the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second right after the Big Bang. Their goal is to give insight into ...

Cellular microRNA detection with miRacles

March 26, 2019

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding regulatory RNAs that can repress gene expression post-transcriptionally and are therefore increasingly used as biomarkers of disease. Detecting miRNAs can be arduous and expensive as ...

Race at the edge of the sun: Ions are faster than atoms

March 26, 2019

Scientists at the University of Göttingen, the Institut d'Astrophysique in Paris and the Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno have observed that ions move faster than atoms in the gas streams of a solar prominence. The results ...

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.