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Japan launches Hayabusa asteroid mission
Posted: Thu, Dec 4, 2014, 5:29 AM ET (1029 GMT)
H-2A launch of Hayabusa-2 (JAXA) An H-2A rocket successfully launched on Wednesday a Japanese mission to collect samples from a near Earth asteroid. The H-2A rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 11:22 pm EST Tuesday (0422 GMT, 1:22 pm local time Wednesday) the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft. The rocket released the spacecraft about one hour and 45 minutes after liftoff. The launch, which had been scheduled for Sunday, was delayed by weather. Hayabusa-2 is Japan's second mission to an asteroid, after the Hayabusa spacecraft collected samples from the asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft will travel to the asteroid 1993 JU3, arriving in mid-2018 to collect samples before returning to Earth in 2020.
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