TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) established the emergency headquarters led by President Okumura and has been doing its utmost to understand the anomaly of the X-ray Astronomy Satellite ASTRO-H (“Hitomi”). We have made every effort to confirm the status of ASTRO-H and to regain its functions. Unfortunately, based on our rigorous technical investigation, we had to conclude as follows.
(1) Most of our analyses including simulations on the mechanisms of object separation, it is highly likely that both solar array paddles had broken off at their bases where they are vulnerable to rotation.
(2) Originally, we had some hopes to restore communication with ASTRO-H since we thought we received signals from ASTRO-H three times after object separation. However, we had to conclude that the received signals were not from ASTRO-H due to the differences in frequencies as a consequence of technological study.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been trying to communicate with the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi” (ASTRO-H), using ground stations both in Japan and overseas.
By utilizing two opportunities of communicating with Hitomi, JAXA received signals from the satellite: the first time was at about 10:00 p.m. on 28 at the Uchinoura Ground Station, and the second one was at around 0:30 a.m. on 29 at the Santiago Tracking Station in Chile. JAXA has not been able to figure out the state of its health, as the time frames for receiving the signals were very short. (more…)
Amateur astronomer Paul Maley tracked Japanese astronomical satellite ASTRO-H from the ground in Arizona. The video shows the satellite brightening and darkening, indicating that it is tumbling in orbit.
JAXA reports it lost regular contact with the spacecraft on Saturday, receiving only a brief signal afterward. The Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) reported it is tracking five pieces of debris around the satellite, indicating at least a partial breakup of the spacecraft.