PR 05-2006: ESA Joins Forces with Japan on New Infrared Sky Surveyor
22 February 2006A high-capability new infrared satellite, ASTRO-F, was successfully launched last night by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). In a collaborative effort involving ESA and scientists across Europe, the spacecraft is now being prepared to start its mapping of the cosmos.
Orbiting the Earth, ASTRO-F (to be renamed Akari (light) now that it is in orbit) will make an unprecedented study of the sky in infrared light, to reveal the distant phenomena hidden from our eyes that tell the story of the formation and evolution processes taking place in the universe.
Prof. David Southwood, ESA's Director of Science, said: "The successful launch of ASTRO-F (Akari) is a big step. A decade ago, our Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) opened up this field of astronomy, and the Japanese took part then. It is wonderful to be cooperating again with Japan in this discipline."
For the full release, please visit the ESA Science Media Centre