JAXA's photo of Hayabusa-2's capsule, at its landing on 2020 Dec 6, shows that its parachute canopy had some non-opaque sections. Why?

Transparency has no advantage for this mission. Compared to conventional parachute materials, transparent ones of the same strength tend to be heavier and less flexible. Or were these sections actually mesh, perhaps for stability at high speed?

One unauthoritative report claims, without elaboration, perhaps extrapolating from some rough diagrams circulating online, that

A cross-type parachute is used by the vehicle.

JAXA photo of capsule

  • $\begingroup$ One theory might be that the parachute is laser-reflective on one surface only (the inner / lower one), so the transparent panels might be to increase the chance of a laser 'seeing' that surface. I have no evidence for this at all however. $\endgroup$
    – user21103
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


To confirm @AlphaD's answer, here are some pictures of peregrine parachute (はやぶさ パラシュート) from a Japanese image search. (Peregrine isn't the kind of parachute, it's English for Hayabusa.)

They are called cross-form/cruciform parachutes and are used for payload deliveries.

hayabusa 1: enter image description here

hayabusa 2: enter image description here

enter image description here

development version: enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, the photo of 2 says at top right "capsule ... parachute", but I can't figure out the kanji. What was the photo's source? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ "Hayabusa 2" is at least sometimes written by JAXA as はやぶさ2. I don't see that here. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ The photo is from here: twitter.com/KanenashiOpera_/status/1335800447467020288 $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! That indeed mentions はやぶさ2 at least as a hash tag, and connects to the photo of the landed capsule, so I'll believe that the other photos showing the chute's mesh panels are authoritative. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 18:54

Assuming that the design of the parachute was the same as that used on the first Hayabusa, the section you mention is actually netting. The following description of the parachute was given when the first Hayabusa was put on display to the public by JAXA (pdf summary in japanese):


My rough translation:

Parachute. Strong and light polyester cloth in cross shape design. Netting is placed between the cross parts to prevent being entangled when deployed. Parachute opened as planned 5km above ground, and landed 10 minutes later.


NHK reported that the design and creation of the parachute was handed to the same factory that produced the parachute for the first Hayabusa. It also confirmed that they based their parachute on the same structural design.

  • $\begingroup$ Any evidence that 2's parachute was similar? It opened higher up, I think, so its design might differ. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ confirmation? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 7:03

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