Japan — JAXA
Hiten: Lunar Orbit

Mission Details

Mission Name: Hiten
Mission Type: Lunar Orbiter
Operator: JAXA (Japanese Space Agency)
Launching State: Japan
Location: Between Stevinus and Furnerius Craters
Latitude: -34
Longitude: 55.3
Launch Date: 24 January 1990, 11:46:00 UT
Landing Date: 10 April 1993, 18:03:25 UT
Objects on or Related to Site:
Image Source: NASA


Hiten (originally called Muses-A) was an ISAS (Japanese Space Agency) Earth orbiting satellite designed primarily to test and verify technologies for future lunar and planetary missions.

The spacecraft carried a small satellite named Hagoromo which was released in the vicinity of the Moon. Hiten itself was put into a highly elliptical Earth orbit which passed by the Moon ten times during the mission, which ended when Hiten was intentionally crashed into the Moon on 10 April 1993.

The primary objectives of the mission were to:

  1. Test trajectory control utilizing gravity assist double lunar swingbys
  2. Insert a sub-satellite into lunar orbit
    Conduct optical navigation experiments on a spin-stabilized spacecraft
  3. Test fault tolerant onboard computer and packet telemetry
  4. Conduct cis-lunar aerobraking experiments; and
  5. Detect and measure mass and velocity of micro-meteorite particles.

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Heritage Consideration

Hiten was named after a flying, music-playing Buddhist angel. Hagoromo was named for the veil worn by Hiten.

Object on or Related to Site

Object Name: Hiten
Cospar: 1990-007A
Norad: N/A
Location: Precise location unknown or undisclosed.
Launch Date: 24 January 1990, 11:46 UT
Landing Date: 10 April 1993, 18:03:25 UT
Deployment: N/A
End Date: N/A
Function: Technology verifier.
Image Source: NASA


Hiten was a cylindrically shaped spacecraft, 1.4 m in diameter and 0.8 m high. The small polyhedral-shaped Hagoromo lunar orbiter was mounted on top of the spacecraft. The fully fueled mass of Hiten was 197 kg, this included 42 kg of hydrazine fuel and the 12 kg Hagoromo orbiter. Solar cells on the cylindrical surface of the spacecraft supplied the power requirement of 110 W, backed up by a small onboard battery. The spacecraft was spin-stabilized at 10 – 20.5 rpm.

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