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Mon Jul 11, 2005

Suzaku (aka ASTRO-EII) launched

Suzaku (aka ASTRO-EII) successfully entered its intended orbit early this morning (local time), according to a JAXA Press Release. All stations (Christmas island, Santiago, and Uchinoura) have confirmed detection of the signal indicating the satellite's separation from the launcher.
Suzaku, like ASCA, is the name of a legendary bird god. ASTRO-EII is the replacement for the unsuccessful ASTRO-E satellite, destroyed shortly following launch in Feburary 2000. ASTRO-EII will cover the energy range 0.2 - 600 keV with the three instruments, X-ray micro-calorimeter (X-ray Spectrometer; XRS), X-ray CCDs (X-ray Imaging Spectrometer; XIS), and the hard X-ray detector (HXD). The operational status will be confirmed in about 5 days. Congratulations JAXA!
UPDATE Unfortunately, the liquid helium for the cryogenically-cooled XRS unexpectedly evaporated during initial operations, rendering it useless. The active lifetime for this instrument was expected to be 2 years. The ASTRO-EII team are expected to announce a new call for proposals with the remaining science instruments in January.
See the Quicktime launch video
Astro-E2 Guest Observer Facility at HEASARC

Labels: 2005, /missions