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The Deployable Camera 3 (DCAM3) is a small separable camera unit carried on the Hayabusa2 mission and deployed for the simultaneous close-range observations and precise location mapping of the impact event by the Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI, a free-flying, 2.5 kg copper projectile) on the surface of asteroid 162173 Ryugu. Hayabusa2 is a Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) mission designed to rendezvous with Ryugu and return a sample of the surface and a sample of the sub-surface at the SCI impact site.

DCAM3 has two parts, a separation mechanism and the deployable camera, and an overal size of 120 mm x 120 mm x 150 mm and a mass of 2 kg. The DCAM3 deployable camera unit is a cylinder with a diameter of 78 mm, a length of 80 mm, and a mass of 0.58 kg. It consists of an analog camera system (DCAM3-A), a digital camera system (DCAM3-D), a non-rechargeable battery as the power unit, and antennas for digital and analog transmissions to the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. The receiver units and antennas for radio communication from DCAM3 and a camera controller unit (CAM-C) are onboard the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. DCAM3 is mounted Hayabusa2 spacecraft and launch-locked by the separation mechanism. DCAM camera unit is designed to be separated with a spin in the optical axis of the imager, so that the unit can stabilize its attitude toward the asteroid during the SCI impact experiment.

Hayabusa2 launched on 3 December 2014 at 04:22:04 UT (13:22:04 local Japanese Time) from the Tanegashima Space Center on an H2A rocket. It used an Electric Delta-V Earth Gravity Assist technique to reach the asteroid, flying by Earth on 3 December 2015 with a closest approach at 10:07 UT, and arriving at asteroid 162173 Ryugu on 27 June 2018, station keeping at a distance of 20 km. The position was periodically lowered for observations and rover deployment.

On 5 April 2019, SCI and the DCAM3 camera unit were released from Hayabusa2. About 40 minutes after separation, when Hayabusa2 was at a safe distance, SCI was shot from an altitude of about 500 m above the asteroid surface by detonating its 4.5 kg mass of plasticized HMX (octogen) for acceleration, while DCAM3 camera unit maneuvered to observe the impact event. The SCI copper impactor excavated a crater of about 10 m in diameter, exposing pristine material. DCAM3 eventually lost battery power and is presumed to have fallen on the asteroid.

Alternate Names

  • Deployable CAMera 3
  • Hayabusa2 DCAM3
  • urn:jaxa:darts:context:instrument_host:spacecraft.dcam3

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2014-12-03
Launch Vehicle: H-2A
Launch Site: Tanegashima, Japan
Mass: 2 kg

Funding Agency

  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail

Selected References

  • Sawada, H., et al., Deployable Camera (DCAM3) System for Observation of Hayabusa2 Impact Experiment, Space Sci. Rev., 208, No. 1-4, 143-164, doi:10.1007/s11214-017-0337-9, Jul. 2017.
  • Saiki, T., et al., The Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) and the Hayabusa2 Impact Experiment, Space Sci. Rev., 208, No. 1-4, 165-186, doi:10.1007/s11214-016-0297-5, Jul. 2017.
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