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HAYABUSA: Firing ion engine and starting second phase orbit maneuver to return to Earth

JAXA reignited the ion engine of the Asteroid Explore "HAYABUSA" for a powered flight at 11:35 a.m. on February 4, 2009 (JST.) The HAYABUSA arrived at the asteroid "ITOKAWA" in 2005 and is now scheduled to return to the Earth in June 2010.We will continue to gradually accelerate the HAYABUSA by the ion engine until around March 2010 to carry out the second phase orbit maneuvering for returning it to the Earth.

February 4, 2009