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Hayabusa Returns to Earth with a Flash

13 Jun 2010, 15:14 UTC
Hayabusa Returns to Earth with a Flash
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Staring hard at the live streaming video of the black Australian skies, I was hoping to see a faint streak of light glide across the camera’s field of view.
But no, it wasn’t that subtle.
Shortly after 9:51 am EDT on Sunday morning (or, for me, a far more civilized 2:51 pm GMT), the Japanese space [...]

Hayabusa re-enters over the Australian Outback, generating a bright fireball (screen grabs from the JAXA video feed)
Staring hard at the live streaming video of the black Australian skies, I was hoping to see a faint streak of light glide across the camera’s field of view.
But no, it wasn’t that subtle.
Shortly after 9:51 am EDT on Sunday morning (or, for me, a far more civilized 2:51 pm GMT), the Japanese space agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa’s mission officially came to an end, burning up in the atmosphere. However, a few hours before, the spacecraft released a 40 cm-wide capsule, sending it ahead of the main spacecraft. This sample return capsule would have a very different re-entry than its mothership.
As I watched the small dot of light on the horizon of the streaming video getting brighter and brighter — feverishly hitting ...

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