Space Science Reviews

, Volume 154, Issue 1–4, pp 3–19 | Cite as

The Kaguya Mission Overview

  • Manabu KatoEmail author
  • Susumu Sasaki
  • Yoshisada Takizawa
  • the Kaguya project team


The Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya (SELENE) was successfully launched by an H2A rocket on September 14, 2007. On October 4, 2007, after passing through a phasing orbit 2.5 times around the Earth, Kaguya was inserted into a large elliptical orbit circling the Moon. After the apolune altitude was lowered, Kaguya reached its nominal 100 km circular polar observation orbit on October 19. During the process of realizing the nominal orbit, two subsatellites Okina (Rstar) and Ouna (Vstar) were released into elliptical orbits with 2400 km and 800 km apolune, respectively; both elliptical orbits had 100 km perilunes. After the functionality of bus system was verified, four radar antennas and a magnetometer boom were extended, and a plasma imager was deployed. Acquisition of scientific data was carried out for 10 months of nominal mission that began in mid-December 2007. During the 8-month extended mission, magnetic fields and gamma-rays from lower orbits were measured; in addition to this, low-altitude observations were carried out using a Terrain Camera, a Multiband Imager, and an HDTV camera. New data pertaining to an intense magnetic anomaly and GRS data with higher spatial resolution were acquired to study magnetism and the elemental distribution of the Moon. After some orbital maneuvers were performed by using the saved fuel, the Kaguya spacecraft finally impacted on the southeast part of the Moon. The Kaguya team has archived the initial science data, and since November 2, 2009, the data has been made available to public, and can be accessed at the Kaguya homepage of JAXA. The team continues to also study and publish initial results in international journals. Science purposes of the mission and onboard instruments including initial science results are described in this overview.


Kaguya Lunar exploration Lunar science Origin and evolution of the moon Remote-sensing 



Selenological and engineering explorer


Japan aerospace exploration agency


Institute of space and astronautical science


National space development agency of Japan


National astronomical observatory of Japan


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manabu Kato
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susumu Sasaki
    • 1
  • Yoshisada Takizawa
    • 1
  • the Kaguya project team
    • 1
  1. 1.Japan Aerospace Exploration AgencyKanagawaJapan

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