Dr. Kuninori Uesugi
Dr. Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi
Project Manager, MUSE-C "Hayabusa"
For the Development of Integration Systems for “Hayabusa” Comprising Communications and Control Technologies as their Core, Enabling the Unmanned Craft to Land and Take off from an Extraterrestrial Object (the Asteroid Itokawa) and Return to Earth for the First Time in History
Asteroid explorer Hayabusa was launched aboard the M-V Launch Vehicle in May 2003. It reached the orbit of asteroid Itokawa in September 2005. It then rendezvoused with Itokawa, obtained likely samples of the asteroid, and successfully returned to Earth in June 2010. Hayabusa is the world's first unmanned explorer that succeeded in landing on an extraterrestrial object and making a roundtrip interplanetary flight. It is also the worldfs first explorer that landed on an asteroid and returned samples to earth. The elemental technologies used for Hayabusa mission are at the top of integrated systems comprising communications and control technologies as their core. Their successful use was a major step forward for the world's space development.
Dr. Kuninori Uesugi greatly contributed to the research and development of space exploration technologies in Japan and to the creation of the Hayabusa Project and its remarkable results. In a series of developments ranging from making Japan's first interplanetary explorer to the success of the Hayabusa Project, the following contributions of Dr. Uesugi deserve special mention. 1) His work on “Sakigake” and “Suisei” resulted in Japanese craft escaping from Earth's gravity for the first time, and he acquired interplanetary navigation technology. 2) With “Hiten,” he proved orbit-control technology with a double lunar swing-by (the direction of the explorer changes by utilizing the gravity of the moon) and orbited and landed on the Moon. 3) He was the first in the world to propose a sample return mission for comet nuclei (the SOCCER Plan). 4) He laid the foundation for the achievements of Hayabusa and was a major factor in the successful development, launch, and operations as the project executive.
Dr. Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi drew up the concept for Hayabusa and proposed it to the world. He played a central role in the mission as the project manager involved in all aspects of the endeavor, from the development of the fundamental technologies to total management. In particular, in a series of developments that led to the Hayabusa's creation, launch, successful return to Earth, and the sample collection, he contributed the following. 1) He succeeded in designating asteroid 1998SF36 (later named Itokawa) as a valid new target after formulating the trajectory planning by creating the EDVEGA method (Electric Delta-V Earth Gravity Assist), which combines an Earth swing-by (the direction of the explorer changes by using the Earth's gravity) and orbit-energy accumulation from an ion engine as an orbit-control technique. 2) He succeeded in landing on and taking off from Itokawa by initiating the development of optical navigation and autonomous navigation. 3) He deserves special mention for his leadership, which saved the Hayabusa from predicaments through his careful and logical considerations at the operation site when problems struck the explorer one after another.
Drs. Uesugi and Kawaguchi's leadership and management based on wide-ranging experience and deep knowledge about the development of space exploration technologies greatly contributed to the many successes of the Hayabusa mission. The NEC C&C Foundation thus is pleased to highly praise their achievements through its 25th Anniversary Memorial Award.