Satellites and Spacecraft X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H"

Under Development

ASTRO-H / H-IIA F30 Countdown

Until Launch

JST Time

Project Topics

Feb. 3, 2016 Updated

ASTRO-H Press Kit

ASTRO-H Press Kit

As the launch day approaches, JAXA has released the press kit for the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “ASTRO-H”. It covers ASTRO-H’s satellite and  mission overview, scientific missions, and observation instruments. Please have a look. ...

Introduction video of ASTRO-H(NEW)

Support messages welcomed for ASTRO-H

  • JAXA is welcoming support messages from you to the ASTRO-H itself, project personnel, and the mission. Your support is very much appreciated!
    Messages for ASTRO-H

Launch of ASTRO-H/H-IIA F30 Live Broadcast

JAXA will broadcast the launch of of ASTRO-H aboard H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30 from the Tanegashima Space Center through the Internet. The report will cover launch events from the liftoff to the payload separation from the launch vehicle.

  • The above schedule is subject to change due to the preparation status and weather conditions.
  • The copyright of the JAXA broadcast belongs to JAXA.

List of public viewing sites for live broadcast of H-IIA F30 launch

You can watch the live report at public viewing sites around Japan.

For other venues, please refer to the following site (Japanese language only):

*Some venues may require application in advance or they may have to limit the number of participants. Please contact the host organization of each venue.

About X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H"

Insight into the Hot Universe—The new generation X-ray astronomy satellite

The universe appears to be cold and peaceful, but seen in X-ray, outer space is filled with turbulence in the form of explosions, collisions, and outbursts. For the purpose of advancing astronomical observations in X-rays, the next generation X-ray observatory ASTRO-H was developed from an international collaboration including Japan and NASA. The cutting edge instrument on board is the “X-ray micro-calorimeter,” which observes X-rays from space with the world’s greatest spectral capability. The other 3 detectors on board allow high sensitivity observations in a wide bandwidth spanning soft X-ray to the softest Gamma-ray. ASTRO-H will apply these new functions to investigate the mechanisms of how galaxy clusters—the largest objects in space made of “visible matter”—formed and influenced by dark energy and dark matter, to reveal the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies, and to unearth the physical laws governing extreme conditions in neutron stars and black holes.

Characteristics of X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H"

Scientific objectives of ASTRO-H

ASTRO-H enables high sensitivity observations of celestial sources across a wide energy range, from X-rays to gamma-rays, bands presenting considerable technical challenges. Thesatellite features cutting-edge instruments; SXS, operated at only 50 mK, is capable of measuring, with unprecedented accuracy, the energy of incoming X-rays. It measures temperature changes in a sensor resulting from absorption of X-ray photons. HXI, operating in the focusing of a Hard X-ray Telescope, will produce the first ever images of the high-energy X-ray universe. SXI, featuring domestically produced X-ray CCDs, will enable us to make wide field X-ray images of the sky with ultra-low noise. The narrowview semi-conductor Compton camera, SGD, revitalizes the field of gamma-ray observations by featuring the greatest sensitivity in this band. The Japanese heritage of successful previous satellites will provide a basis for meeting these challenges.

Major Characteristics

Objectives The purpose of ASTRO-H is to explore the structure and evolution of Universe with the following observational capabilities:
  1. One of the first imaging and spectroscopic observations with the hard X-ray telescope.
  2. The first spectroscopic observations with an extremely high energy resolution of the micro-calorimeter.
  3. The most sensitive wideband observation over an energy range from 0.3 to 600 keV.
Launch Date February 12 (Friday), 2016 (JST)
Location Tanegashima Space Center
Launch Vehicle H-IIA
Configuration Weight 2.7 t
Shape There are four focusing telescopes mounted on the top of a fixed optical bench (FOB). Two of the four telescopes are Soft X-ray Telescopes (SXTs) and they have a 5.6 m focal length. One SXT will point to a soft X-ray spectrometer (SXS) and the other SXT will point to a soft X-ray imager (SXI). The other two telescopes are Hard X-ray Telescopes (HXTs), which focal length is 12 m. The Hard X-ray Imaging detectors (HXIs) are mounted on the HXI plate, at the end of a 6 m extendable optical bench (EOB) that is stowed to fit in the launch fairing and deployed once in orbit. In order to extend the energy coverage to the soft γ-ray region up to 600 keV, the Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD) will be implemented as a non-focusing detector. Two SGD detectors, each consisting of three units will be mounted separately on two sides of the satellite.
Orbit Altitude ~575 km
Inclination 31°
Type of Orbit Circular
Period about 96 min.
Scientific Instruments (Planned)
  • Hard X-ray Telescope (HXT)
  • Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT-S, SXT-I)
  • Hard X-ray Imager (HXI)
  • Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS)
  • Soft X-ray Imager (SXI)
  • Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD)

Mission talk by team leaders

Project Manager Tadayuki Takahashi

Here are messages from Project Managers.