What Does "Hayabusa" Mean?

hayabusa-mean Credit: Steve Glover/CC-BY 2.0

"Hayabusa" can refer to either an unmanned spacecraft launched by Japan in 2003 or to the world's fastest production motorcycle, which Suzuki Cycles has been making since 1999. Literally, the word "hayabusa" is Japanese for "peregrine falcon."

The Hayabusa spacecraft made rendezvous with a small asteroid near Earth in 2005, studied the asteroid and returned samples of dirt from the asteroid to Earth in 2010.

The Hayabusa motorcycle reached a top speed of 194 mph with the 1999-2000 model. In 2001, Suzuki voluntarily limited the top speed of the bike to 186 mph. The name "Hayabusa" was chosen because Suzuki was hoping to make a bike that could beat the Honda Blackbird, and peregrine falcons eat blackbirds.