|Kyocera fine ceramics are active in fields not limited to this planet. Applications have expanded to include aerospace industries. For example, they have been used as components of batteries installed in an asteroid exploration spacecraft.
The Hayabusa spacecraft was a major topic of interest last year. Although there were doubts for a while about the Hayabusa's ability to return to Earth, the spacecraft returned safely with a particulate sample of an asteroid named Itokawa. This extraordinary achievement marked the first time matter had been brought to Earth from a body other than the Moon. Kyocera's highly reliable components and bonding technology were used in the Hayabusa.
Lithium-ion batteries were installed in the Hayabusa, and Kyocera's high-purity fine ceramic components (alumina ceramic) were used for the battery terminal components. Their high strength, outstanding hermeticity, and corrosion resistance were acknowledged. Kyocera's metallizing technology (brazing technology) for creating strong bonds between dissimilar materials also received high acclaim.
In December 2010, a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan awards ceremony was held for corporations and institutions contributing to the Hayabusa project. Kyocera and all other parties involved received official letters of appreciation. During the awards ceremony, MEXT Minister Yoshiaki Takaki had high praise for the contributing parties. The Hayabusa had given dreams and hopes to the people of Japan, and demonstrated Japan's high technological capability to the world.
With its unlimited potential, the importance of space development is expected to rise even higher in Japan. Kyocera is working to further improve the performance of fine ceramic components. In meeting diverse user needs, we aim to contribute further to space development.
In May 2003, the Hayabusa was launched on a mission to the asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft landed on Itokawa in November 2005 and collected a sample. For a time, equipment problems stirred doubts about Hayabusa's ability to return to Earth. However, Hayabusa reentered Earth's atmosphere in June 2010 and was safely recovered.