Hayabusa-2 observation campaign

The Desert Fireball Network is taking part in the observation campaign of JAXA's Hayabusa-2 capsule re-entry over South Australia in December 2020. Along with colleagues from Kochi University of Technology (KUT) and their partners at Nihon University and Ibaraki University, we are deploying a large array of over 50 instruments to capture the effects of this exceptional phenomenon. By analysing the optical and near-UV light of the fireball, we will calculate the trajectory precisely, as well as learn about the ablation process, and determine the temperature. With infrasound and seismic sensors we will analyse the shock wave generated by the passage of the capsule in the Earth's atmosphere. Finally we will try to listen for radio waves from the high-density plasma.

Hayabusa-2 return

Key People

Ellie Sansom
Campaign coordinator
Seismic & Infrasound
Curtin University
Masa-yuki Yamamoto
Principal Investigator
Seismic & Infrasound
Kochi University of Technology
Hadrien Devillepoix
Science operations & logistics
Curtin University
Martin Towner
Fieldwork coordinator
Curtin University
Shinsuke Abe
Nihon University
Satoshi Nozawa
Satoshi Nozawa
Plasma Physics
Ibaraki University
Martin Cupák
Remote operations
Curtin University

Ground Support Crew

Glyn Donaldson
Glyn Donaldson
Karen Donaldson
Karen Donaldson
Geoffrey Bonning
Australian National University


Yoshihiro Hiramatsu Y
Yoshihiro Hiramatsu
Kanazawa University
Yoshihiro Kakinami Y
Yoshihiro Kakinami
Hokkaido Information University
Norihisa Segawa N
Norihisa Segawa
IoT Telemetry
Kyoto Sangyo University
Hiroshi Katao H
Hiroshi Katao
Kyoto University
Taichi Kawamura T
Taichi Kawamura
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
Muneyoshi Furumoto M
Muneyoshi Furumoto
Tono Research Institute of Earthquake Science
Tanja Neidhart
Curtin University

Timeline of events

Nov 28, 2020

Team 1 in Coober Pedy remains in hiding in their cave in Coober Pedy on this 46C day, making the most of the day at base repairing DFN cameras, as well as unpacking and testing infrasound/seismic sensors. Meanwhile team 2 in Adelaide consisting of Andrew and Mick, helped by Terry, are packing up their car as they are leaving tomorrow morning.

Nov 27, 2020

Today marks the 5 year anniversary of the Murrili meteorite, the first recovered fall of the digital age DFN. The team visits William Creek, Trevor Wright's air support base, who helped with the recovery. Hadrien and Ellie then head up to Oodnadatta to service the DFN camera there, and finally come back down to base via Mount Barry, also host to a fireball camera in need of servicing. These gravel roads across Ngurabanna country are usually popular in the cool season with tourists; but this time passing cars over the 600 km journey could be counted on a single hand!
Shipment Shipment

Nov 26, 2020

The main gear shipment has arrived, delivered by McArdle freight. It's getting hot!

Nov 25, 2020

Hadrien and Ellie are doing some DFN camera servicing North of Coober Pedy, also selecting the Northermost site for the campaign. Mustering has started in the surrounding cattle stations and must watch out for cattle crossing the highway!

Nov 24, 2020

Ellie and Hadrien have arrived in Coober Pedy. The dugout accomodation (a typical Coober Pedy construction) will keep them cool for the duration of the campaign.

Nov 21, 2020

The team visits one of the historical camera sites of the DFN, at Forrest Airport, managed by Karen and Steve. Although in the middle of nowhere, the stop in Forrest is an opportunity to meet new people. Thanks Allan from West Coast Aero for giving us a tour from the air! We also had a good chat with Catherine from Airborne Research Australia about possible future collaboration.

Nov 20, 2020

JAXA news update: Information on observing the re-entry capsule on the Hayabusa-2 website. They've also created a pretty cool app (for those with apple devices) that will show you what the fireball will look like!

Nov 19, 2020

While waiting for the SA lockdown to end, the team is servicing some DFN cameras in the Nullarbor, welcomed by a lightning storm!

Nov 18, 2020

Ellie and Hadrien have left Perth, driving East. Despite having exemption border passes, it is unclear at the moment at what point they will be able to cross the border into South Autralia, as South Australia have started a 6-day complete lockdown of the state in order to contain the Covid cluster in Adelaide.

Nov 16, 2020

The joint research agreement has been signed by both Kochi University of Technology and Curtin University.

Nov 13, 2020

Testing the Raspberry Shake and Booms in the lab and in the field. We finally managed to get them working with GPS modules.
Shipment Shipment

Nov 12, 2020

An online meeting was conducted between Australian partners to coordinate field operations in South Australia.

Oct 27, 2020

The massive box has arrived at Curtin. Martin Towner puts his forklift licence to practice!

Oct 13, 2020

Masa-yuki Yamamoto has shipped the bulk of the infrasound instruments to be used during the campaign to Australia.

Sept 18, 2020

The first Raspberry Shake & Boom unit has arrived to Curtin.

Sept 14, 2020

Masa-yuki confirms that travel from Japan by science teams will likely not be possible due to Covid restrictions. Plan B is activated, Curtin and partners from Australia will do most of the instrument deployment.

Aug 19, 2020

The first INF04 infrasound sensors have arrived to Curtin for testing, shipped by Masa-yuki Yamamoto.

Aug 19, 2020

JAXA news update: The Hayabusa2 Re-entry capsule is approved to land in Australia in the Woomera Test Range. Check it out on the Hayabusa-2 website. Hayabusa-2 will soon enter its final guidance phase to intercept the Earth (picture credit: JAXA).
Hayabusa-2 return

Nov 13, 2019

Hayabusa-2 departs from Ryugu, the next phase of the mission as it is coming home!

June 2019

While attending the Meteoroids conference in Bratislava (Slovakia), Masa-yuki Yamamoto (Kochi U.T.), Shinsuke Abe (Nihon U.), and Hadrien Devillepoix (Curtin U.) start talking at about a possible collaboration to observe the re-entry of the HAYABUSA-2 capsule in December 2020.

This work would not be possible without the support of a large number of people. We would like to particularly thank the following:

  • Ben Broeder, Comm Systems, Antenna Setup Support
  • Takashi Fukai, Ibaraki University, UHF Receiver Manufacturing
  • Masahiko Komoda and Mr. Hirotaka Horiuchi, ICOM Inc., Support for Plan-B
  • Yuichiro Inoue, Kochi University of Technology, Data Logger Manufacturing
  • Masato Yazawa, Mathematical Assist Design Laboratory, Data Logger Manufacturing
  • Akihiro Yokota, SAYA Inc., Infrasound Sensor Manufacturing
As well as the members of Hayabusa-2 project (lead by Makoto Yoshikawa, Project Manager), ISAS/JAXA; and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group in Edinburgh (lead by Kruger White).