- Shortcut URL
- Images And Videos
- Launch of Astro-H
Liftoff for ASTRO-H, now in orbit as Hitomi
17 February 2016JAXA's ASTRO-H satellite was launched earlier today on an H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center, situated on a small island in the south of Japan. This space-borne observatory, developed in collaboration with institutions in Japan, the US, Canada and Europe, will probe the sky in the X-ray and soft gamma ray portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The rocket lifted off at 08:45 GMT (09:45 CET) on 17 February and, approximately 14 minutes and 15 seconds after liftoff, separation of the satellite was confirmed. JAXA confirmed that the satellite has deployed its solar array paddles normally through data transmitted from the satellite and received at the Uchinoura Ground Station.
Traditionally, Japan's astronomy satellites receive a provisional name during the implementation phase, and are then renamed after launch.
The now in-orbit ASTRO-H satellite received its new designation today: Hitomi, a Japanese word used to describe the 'eye', and more specifically the pupil, or entrance window of the eye. The name Hitomi, which is also linked to an ancient legend about a painter drawing dragons, is a fitting description for this satellite that will be a new eye to study the hot and energetic Universe.