Asteroid landing "Made in Germany"

Hayabusa2 drops MASCOT onto Ryugu
Image Credit: JAXA

News from Oct 03, 2018

Today the MASCOT lander, which was developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and built in collaboration with the French space agency CNES, successfully landed on the asteroid Ryugu. The space probe Hayabusa2 of the Japanese space agency JAXA launched into space with MASCOT and the MINERVA-II1 rovers aboard in December 2014 and has been orbiting the asteroid since June this year. After the Japanese rovers were successfully placed on Ryugu on 21 September, the DLR Control Center in Cologne was now able to follow with MASCOT. Around 8 am German time the signal of the successful landing was received there.

One hour before the planned separation of MASCOT and Hayabusa2, the Operations team gave its “Go” on the descent. At this time, the instruments’ scientific measurements had already begun. Before separation, the orbiter descended to an altitude of around 50 meters above the asteroid's surface, causing the descent itself to take only a few minutes. MASCOT is going to transmit data for 16 hours before its batteries will be depleted.