Japanese Entry/Reentry Capsules: Past, Present, and Future
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Japanese reentry and entry capsule missions together with related technology development in the past, present, and future are surveyed in the paper. The EXPRESS was an international collaborative mission among Germany, Russia, and Japan, which was launched by M-3S-II rocket in 1995. The DASH was to be a demonstrator for the high-speed reentry technology, and the technologies were succeeded to Hayabusa sample return capsule (SRC). The USERS capsule conducted reentry flight from LEO and was successfully recovered on the sea in 2003. Hayabusa spacecraft departed the asteroid Itokawa after the touch-down sampling and is planned to return to the earth in 2010. And also sample return of far extinct core of a comet is also investigated, in which the reentry velocity exceeds 14 km/s and heatshield material for the corresponding high heatflux environment is now under development. The venus entry probe and atmosphere scientific observation by a water-vapor balloon is now at the feasibility study phase.