Orbit insertion strategy of Hayabusa2’s rover with large release uncertainty around the asteroid Ryugu

Yusuke Oki, Kent Yoshikawa, Hiroshi Takeuchi, Shota Kikuchi, Hitosi Ikeda, Daniel J. Scheeres, Jay W. McMahon, Junichiro Kawaguchi, Yuto Takei, Yuya Mimasu, Naoko Ogawa, Go Ono, Fuyuto Terui, Manabu Yamada, Toru Kouyama, Shingo Kameda, Kazuya Yoshida, Kenji Nagaoka, Tetsuo Yoshimitsu, Takanao SaikiYuichi Tsuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the orbit design of the deployable payload Rover 2 of MINERVA-II, installed on the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. Because Rover 2 did not have surface exploration capabilities, the operation team decided to experiment with a new strategy for its deployment to the surface. The rover was ejected at a high altitude and made a semi-hard landing on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu after several orbits. Based on the orbital analysis around Ryugu, the expected collision speed was tolerable for the rover to function post-impact. Because the rover could not control its position, its motion was entirely governed by the initial conditions. Thus, the largest challenge was to insert the rover into a stable orbit (despite its large release uncertainty), and avoid its escape from Ryugu due to an environment strongly perturbed by solar radiation pressure and gravitational irregularities. This study investigates the solution space of the orbit around Ryugu and evaluates the orbit’s robustness by utilizing Monte Carlo simulations to determine the orbit insertion policy. Upon analyzing the flight data of the rover operation, we verified that the rover orbited Ryugu for more than one period and established the possibility of a novel method for estimating the gravity of an asteroid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-329
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec


  • augmented elliptic Hill three-body problem
  • gravitational irregularity
  • solar radiation pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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