Japanese Space Program - Astronomy Program - X-ray Astronomy

X-ray Astronomy

Starting from 1979 with Hakucho (CORSA-B), Japan achieved for nearly 20 years continuous observation with its Hinotori, Tenma, Ginga and Asuka (ASTRO-A to D) x-ray observation satellites. However in the year 2000 the launch of Japan's fifth x-ray observation satellite ASTRO-E failed (as it failed at launch it never received a proper name).

Then on 10 July 2005, JAXA was finally able to launch a new X-ray astronomy mission named Suzaku (ASTRO-E II). This launch was important for JAXA, because in the five years since the launch failure of the original ASTRO-E satellite, Japan was without an x-ray telescope. Three instruments were included in this satellite: an X-ray spectrometer (XRS), an X-ray imaging spectrometer (XIS), and a hard X-ray detector (HXD). However, the XRS was rendered inoperable due to a malfunction which caused the satellite to lose its supply of liquid helium.

The next planned x-ray mission is the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI). It will continuously monitors astronomical X-ray objects over a broad energy band (0.5 to 30 keV). MAXI will be installed on the Japanese external module of the ISS. After this mission JAXA plans to launch ASTRO-H, also known under the name NeXT, in the summer of 2013.

See also: ASTRO-H

Read more about this topic:  Japanese Space Program, Astronomy Program

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