Membership in the ASTRO-H Mission Science Working Group
Note added on Dec 29, 2008
The paragraph labeled "This Call" has been updated to
clarify the definition of "U.S. scientist."
Membership application deadline has been extended to 4:30pm EST on January 13, 2009.
This letter is an invitation to U.S. scientists to serve as members of the
ASTRO-H Mission (formerly known as the New Exploration X-ray Telescope
[NeXT]) Science Working Group (SWG). The SWG is being constituted by
NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to provide
scientific guidance to the ASTRO-H Project relative to the
design/development and operations phases of the mission. It will include
individuals from both the instrument teams and the broader astrophysics
Background: NASA and JAXA have agreed to participate in a joint mission
to investigate the physics of the high-energy universe utilizing an
advanced X-ray observatory capable of high-resolution, high-throughput
spectroscopy with moderate spatial resolution over the 0.3 - 600 keV
energy band. The ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of X-ray
missions initiated by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
(ISAS) beginning with the launch of Hakucho in 1979 through to the
currently operating Suzaku mission. In response to the 2007 NASA
Announcement of Opportunity soliciting investigations for Small Explorer
(SMEX) missions and Missions of Opportunity (MO), a group headed by Dr.
Richard Kelley of Goddard Space Flight Center was selected to provide
key components of a high-resolution X-ray calorimeter spectrometer (Soft
X-ray Spectrometer [SXS]) that will constitute one of the observatory's
primary science instruments. The Goddard proposal was selected for
design/development of the U.S. portion of the SXS instrument and its
operation on ASTRO-H during the in-orbit checkout phase (~ 1 - 2
months) and initial six months of nominal science operations ("baseline
NASA program"). Individuals selected in response to this Call will be
expected to provide their time and expertise in assisting the ASTRO-H
team to optimize the mission's scientific return and will nominally serve
through the end of the baseline NASA program. A more detailed
description of the mission may be found at the following website: http://ASTRO-H.isas.jaxa.jp/.
International Cooperation: NASA and JAXA will play the following roles,
respectively, in their partnership:
a) JAXA will be the lead agency for ASTRO-H, responsible for the
success of the overall mission;
b) JAXA will provide the primary observatory components including
the spacecraft bus, three science instruments (Soft X-ray Imager
[SXI], Hard X-ray Imager [HXI], and Soft Gamma-ray Detector
[SGD]), and cooling system and other supporting hardware for the
c) NASA will collaborate with JAXA on the development of the SXS
instrument, providing key hardware for the X-ray Calorimeter
Spectrometer (XCS) and Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT).
d) JAXA and NASA will establish a Science Working Group to provide
scientific guidance relevant to the design/development/operations
of the mission and will provide support of the participation of their
e) JAXA will provide a launch in mid-2013 and support of mission
This Call: NASA and JAXA are responsible for selection of
their respective representatives on the SWG. NASA is soliciting letters
from scientists affiliated with U.S. institutions to apply for
membership in the ASTRO-H SWG. This solicitation is NOT open
to SXS team members Letters are invited from individuals, not
groups. Note that NASA is particularly interested in receiving
applications from individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and
experience. Letters from prospective participants in various career
stages with expertise in a range of disciplines including flight
hardware development, theory/modeling, and observation/data
analysis are welcome.
Letters shall be limited to four pages, with 11-pt font and 1-inch margins,
and should include the following content:
a) Provide a description of the specific scientific area(s) that you
propose to contribute to in your capacity as a member of the SWG.
Please give a specific example(s) of a candidate science
investigation(s) you wish to assist in defining for potential execution
during the baseline NASA program.
b) Describe your current research and scientific expertise in the
areas of direct relevance to the ASTRO-H mission science goals. You
should include references to papers that you have published that
are of direct relevance to your proposed participation in the SWG.
c) Provide a statement of your commitment to supporting your
participation in the ASTRO-H SWG through the baseline NASA
program phase (early 2014). This should include a discussion of the
level of effort that you are prepared to devote to your
responsibilities as a SWG member during this timeframe.
U.S. membership in the SWG will be determined by NASA, in consultation
with JAXA, following a review of the applications received in response to
this Call. The SWG will be chaired by the ASTRO-H PI/Project Manager, Dr.
Tadayuki Takahashi. Meetings will be held on a roughly semiannual basis
(usually at ISAS) and will typically last two to three days. Travel expenses
of U.S. members will be reimbursed by NASA.
NASA and JAXA wish to identify their respective SWG members as soon as
possible and tentatively plan to hold the initial SWG meeting in late
February 2009. NASA expects to select five or six individuals to serve as
U.S. science community representatives on the SWG.
Your reply to this invitation should be submitted by email only, and be
received by 4:30pm EST on 13 January 2009. Please email your letter to the
NASA Program Scientist at the following address:
Dr. Louis J. Kaluzienski
NASA ASTRO-H Program Scientist
Thank you for your interest in participating in the ASTRO-H mission.