JAXA - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency logo.
February 17, 2016
Launch of H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center with ASTRO-H X-ray observatory
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30 (H-IIA F30) with the X-ray Astronomy Satellite (ASTRO-H) onboard at 5:45 p.m. on February 17, 2016 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately 14 minutes and 15 seconds after liftoff, the separation of ASTRO-H was confirmed.
The success marked the 30th milestone launch of the H-IIA, and the launch success rate reached almost 97%. In addition, the last 10 launches lifted off on time (except for some launch delays due to weather factors), and that has proved the high reliability and quality of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle. We can and will respond to demands of launch service users with confidence and high reliability.
Launch of Japanese H-IIA Rocket with ASTRO-H Onboard
We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the H-IIA F30.
X-ray Astronomy Satellite (ASTRO-H) Solar Array Paddles Deployment and Name Decided
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed that the X-ray Astronomy Satellite (ASTRO-H) has deployed its solar array paddles (SAPs) normally through data transmitted from the satellite and received at the Uchinoura Ground Station at 5:45 p.m. on February 17, 2016. ASTRO-H was launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30 from the Tahegashima Space Center at 5:45 p.m. on the same day.
The satellite is currently in good health.
ASTRO-H is the eye to study the hot and energetic universe. Therefore we name ASTRO-H, “Hitomi”. The word Hitomi generally means “eye”, and specifically the pupil, or entrance window of the eye - the aperture!
X-ray Astronomy Satellite (ASTRO-H)
There is also an ancient legend that inspires the name Hitomi.
"One day, many years ago, a painter was drawing four white dragons on a street. He finished drawing the dragons, but without “Hitomi”. People who looked at the painting said “why don’t you paint Hitomi, it is not complete! The painter hesitated, but people pressured him. The painter then drew Hitomi on two of the four dragons. Immediately, these dragons came to life and flew up into the sky. The two dragons without Hitomi remained still. (Put Hitomi of Dragon in the drawing).”
The inspiration of this story is that Hitomi is regarded as the “One last, but most important part”, and so we wish ASTRO-H to be the essential mission to solve mysteries of the universe in X-rays. Hitomi refers to the aperture of the eye, the part where incoming light is absorbed. From this, Hitomi reminds us of a black hole. We will observe Hitomi in the Universe using the Hitomi satellite!
For your information, a nano-satellite “PRISM”, which was developed by Profs Nakasuka and Funase laboratory, at the University of Tokyo, and is currently in operation, shares the same name of Hitomi as its nickname. The laboratory kindly accepted our request to use the same name for ASTRO-H, and we would like to express our sincere appreciation for their cooperation.
MHI Launch Services: http://h2a.mhi.co.jp/en/index.html
H-IIA Launch Vehicle: http://global.jaxa.jp/projects/rockets/h2a/
X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H": http://global.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/astro_h/
Images, Video, Text, Credits: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/National Research and Development Agency/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Best regards, Orbiter.ch