Ginga (satellite)

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Names Astro-C before launch
Mission type X-ray Astronomy
Operator Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
University of Tokyo
COSPAR ID 1987-012A
SATCAT no. 17480
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass 400 kg (880 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 06:28:00, February 5, 1987 (1987-02-05T06:28:00)
Rocket M-3S2-3
Launch site Uchinoura Space Center
End of mission
Decay date November 1, 1991 (1991-11-01)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Eccentricity 0.01365
Perigee 517 km (321 mi)
Apogee 708 km (440 mi)
Inclination 31.1°
Period 97 min
Epoch February 5, 1987

ASTRO-C, renamed Ginga (Japanese for 'galaxy'), was an X-ray astronomy satellite launched from the Kagoshima Space Center on 5 February 1987 using M-3SII launch vehicle. The primary instrument for observations was the Large Area Counter (LAC). Ginga was the third Japanese X-ray astronomy mission, following Hakucho and Tenma. Ginga reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 1 November 1991.


  • Large Area Proportional Counter (LAC 1.5-37 keV)
  • All-Sky Monitor (ASM 1-20 keV)
  • Gamma-ray Burst Detector (GBD 1.5-500 keV)


  • Discovery of transient Black Hole Candidates and study of their spectral evolution.
  • Discovery of weak transients in the galactic ridge.
  • Detection of cyclotron features in 3 X-ray pulsars: 4U1538-522, V0332+53, and Cep X-4.
  • Evidence for emission and absorption Fe feature in Seyfert probing reprocessing by cold matter.
  • Discovery of intense 6-7 keV iron line emission from the galactic center region.

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