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General information
Organization Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Launch date 12 February 2016[1]
Launch site Tanegashima Y1
Launch vehicle H-IIA
Mission length ≥ 3 years
Mass 2.7 t (2.7 long tons; 3.0 short tons)
Length 14 m (46 ft)
Type of orbit circular low Earth orbit
Orbit height 575 km (357 mi)
Orbit period 96 minutes
Wavelength X-ray
HXI Hard X-ray Imager
SXS Soft X-ray Spectrometer
SXI Soft X-ray Imager
SGD Soft Gamma-ray Detector

ASTRO-H (also known as NeXT for New X-ray Telescope) is an X-ray astronomy satellite commissioned by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for studying extremely energetic processes in the universe. The space observatory is designed to extend the research conducted by the Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics (ASCA) by investigating the hard X-ray band above 10 keV.[2] It is planned to be launched in February 2016 into a low Earth orbit altitude of 575 km (357 mi).[3][4][5] It will be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on board an H-IIA rocket.



The objective of ASTRO-H is to explore the structure and evolution of universe

  • Understand the extreme conditions in the universe
  • Explore the diverse phenomena of non/thermal universe
  • Elucidate dark matter and dark energy

These objectives will be achieved with the following observational capabilities:[5][6]

  1. Imaging and spectroscopic observations with a hard X-ray telescope
  2. 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


  • Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT-S, SXT-I)
    • Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), 0.4-12 keV, for high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy
    • Soft X-ray Imager (SXI), 0.3-12 keV
  • Hard X-ray Telescope (HXT)[7]
    • Hard X-ray Imager (HXI), energy range: 5-80 keV [7]
  • Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD), 60-600 keV[8]

International collaboration[edit]

ASTRO-H has been built by an international collaboration led by JAXA with over 70 contributing institutions in Japan, the US, Canada, and Europe.[5]

NASA is providing the High-Resolution Soft X-Ray Spectrometer (SXS).[9] The Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) is providing the filter-wheel and calibration source for the spectrometer.[10] The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is providing the Canadian Astro-H Metrology System (CAMS),[11][12] which is a laser alignment system that will be used to measure the distortions in the extendible optical bench.

With a mass of 2,400 kilograms (5,300 lb), ASTRO-H will be the heaviest Japanese astronomy mission so far. When its telescope is extended, the satellite is 14 m (46 ft) in length.


  1. ^ "Launch of X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H" by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30" 11 December 2015. JAXA.
  2. ^ High Energy Astrophysics (2008). "The New X-ray Telescope". ISAS. Retrieved June 24, 2008. 
  3. ^ Astro-H mission
  4. ^ Shirron, Peter. "[Invited Oral] Performance Testing of the Flight Model Astro-H 3-stage ADR" (PDF). Indico. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Astro-H - Overview". JAXA. 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  6. ^ "Astro-H - Expected Performance". JAXA. 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  7. ^ a b "ASTRO-H - Hard X-ray Imaging System". JAXA. 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  8. ^ X線天文衛星ASTRO-H (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. November 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  9. ^ NASA (2008). "NASA Selects Explorer Mission of Opportunity Investigations". NASA. Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2008. 
  10. ^ SRON (2010). "SRON - ASTRO-H". Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  11. ^ Canadian Astro-H Metrology System (CAMS).
  12. ^ Canada Partners on Upcoming Japanese X-ray Space Observatory. Canadian Space Agency.

External links[edit]