This is a movie based on the actual launch, and voyage of Japanese asteroid explorer satellite Hayabusa. The movie itself is not a documentary, but a reenactment of the events that transpired over seven years of the project.
After the failed attempt by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) to put a probe into orbit around Mars, they put their hopes to regain face on an asteroid probe called Hayabusa.
In real life, Hayabusa was launched in May of 2003, reaching solar orbital velocity. After the Earth swing by and using powered gravity assist from its ion engines a year later, the probe attained speed necessary to reach the asteroid 25143 Itokawa. In 2005, Hayabusa succeeded in making rendezvous with the asteroid, and after 5 month of study, made a touch down on the surface to collect samples. The probe then entered a return trajectory back to Earth. It was supposed to reach Earth in 2007, but due to malfunction in the system, the return was delayed until 2010. Hayabusa mission was most noted for the probe's durability in the face of multiple failures of its systems. Due to clever backup strategies, the probe was able to return to earth even after 50% of its thruster systems failed.
The film had problems in explaining the way the probe malfunctioned. The brilliance of the solution to the problems were also not clearly presented. They all looked like some trivialities that occurred during the mission. They needed to highlight the importance of the problem, and also the brilliance of the solution. Other areas of the story lacked punctuation as well. So the story went on completely missing the dramatic effect in many areas.
But the movie is an excellent adventure revolving around the probe Hayabusa. The story is almost an unmanned version of Apollo 13, and is an excellent movie to watch.
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