In DepthSpace Science

Japan reboots x-ray probe—and mission management

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Science  18 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6314, pp. 814-815
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6314.814

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The breakup and abandonment of Japan's ASTRO-H x-ray satellite just 5 weeks after its launch this past spring prompted soul-searching at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). The small, scrappy space science institute has seen its reputation for building ground-breaking missions on modest budgets tarnished by a lengthening list of failures. The institute has convinced funding agencies and international partners that changes to the way it manages missions will ensure greater reliability in all of its future spacecraft. It is now on track to gain approval to build a replacement for ASTRO-H, which was also known as Hitomi, that will be simpler and cheaper but carry a copy of the Soft X-Ray Spectrometer that was the primary focus of interest for astrophysicists. ISAS hopes to launch the new satellite by 2021.

  • * in Sagamihara, Japan