Launch Postponed. JAXA countdown stopped.

The Astro-H (aka NeXT/SXS) Mission

ASTRO-H launch scheduled for Feb 12,2016 has been postponed

Astro-H (formerly known as "NeXT") is a facility-class mission to be launched on a JAXA H-IIA into low Earth orbit. The Astro-H mission objectives are to:

  • trace the growth history of the largest structures in the Universe
  • provide insights into the behavior of material in extreme gravitational fields
  • determine the spin of black holes and the equation of state of neutron stars
  • trace shock acceleration structures in clusters of galaxies and SNRs
  • investigate the detailed physics of jets.

Achieving these objectives requires the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), which combines a lightweight Soft X-ray Telescope paired with a X-ray Calorimeter Spectrometer, providing non-dispersive 7 eV resolution in the 0.3-10 keV bandpass.

Three additional scientific instruments extend the bandpass to produce an observatory with extraordinary new capabilities. The Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) performs sensitive imaging spectroscopy in the 5-80 keV band; the non-imaging Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD) extends Astro-H’s energy band to 300 keV; and the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) expands the field of view with a new generation CCD camera in the energy range of 0.5-12 keV .

Astro-H is the Japan's sixth X-ray astronomy mission, and is primarily developed at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) in collaboration with U.S. (NASA/GSFC) and Japanese institutions.

NASA/GSFC has also responsibility for the Science Data Center charter to delevelop the analysis software and the processing pipeline as well as the the Guest Observer Facility in support of the Guest Observer Programs after the Astro-H launch.

Astro-H in flight

Latest News

ASTRO-H launch postponed due to weather

11 Feb 2016 21:15 JST

ASTRO-H Launch scheduled for Feb 12, 2016 has been postponed. See Press Release

SXS system performance is as expected at the final check before the launch

11 Feb 2016

Today, L-1, the SXS was powered up and cooled to its nominal operating temperature of 50 mK for a final performance check. System noise and energy resolution on the calibration are as expected. Next step is final closeout of the dewar valve configuration for flight.

SXS is now at 50 mK

7 Feb 2016

The SXS has completed a planned 12th and final cool down of the SXS instrument from room temperature prior to launch. The instrument performance was nominal and JAXA is now proceeding with the low temperature top-off of the liquid helium.

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