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Fwd: Jonathan's Space Report, No. 550

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  • Frits Westra
    Jonathan s Space Report No. 550 2005 Jul 10, Somerville, MA ... Astro-E2/Suzaku ... Japan s Astro-E2 astronomy
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 10, 2005
      Jonathan's Space Report
      No. 550 2005 Jul 10, Somerville,

      Japan's Astro-E2 astronomy satellite was launched on Jul 10 into a 248 x
      540 km x 31.4 deg orbit and renamed "Suzaku".

      Thanks to Randall Smith for forwarding Kunieda-san's explanation of the
      reproduced below with minor editing:

      "Project manager, Inoue-san, announced Suzaku as the new name of
      Astro-E2 with the following reasons in the [press] conference.

      1. Suzaku is a legendary red bird which guards us from evil and
      brings us fortune. Japanese X-ray astronomy satellites have been called
      mostly with the names of birds. Therefore, Suzaku, a red bird, fits into
      this tradition.

      2. X-ray astronomy in Japan started with the recovery mission
      Hakuchou ("swan" or "white bird" in Chinese characters) [Jonathan's note:
      usually written just "Hakucho" in English language sources and often
      specifically as the constellation "Cygnus"]
      following the failure of CORSA-A. [Jonathan's note: Japan's first X-ray
      astrononomy satellite was to be CORSA-A which failed to reach orbit. The
      replacement CORSA-B was named Hakucho on reaching orbit.]
      The scientific results we have obtained so far are based on
      the series of missions starting from Hakucho. Now we would like to
      start a new chapter in the history of X-ray astronomy with the
      new satellite named Suzaku ('red bird'), making a good contrast with

      3. In Japanese history, emperors after Asca era in the 7th
      century built big capitals in the manner of Chinese dynasties.
      These cities were guarded by four deities in Chinese legend.
      The white tiger is the guardian of the west, the black turtle for the
      north, blue dragon for the east, and the red bird for the south. Suzaku,
      the red bird, became the leading deity of the time following the
      ASCA era. [Jonathan's note: and of course, in Japanese X-ray astronomy
      the previous era was indeed that of ASCA (Astro-D) launched in 1993.]

      4. In Chinese astrology, 28 constellations are "governed" by the four
      deities mentioned above. The red bird, Suzaku, governs the southern
      sky. The Virgo cluster of galaxies, one of the most important targets of
      the new mission, is located in the area governed by Suzaku."
      [Jonathan's note: of course, "southern sky" here means as seen from
      Virgo of course is in the northern hemisphere but near the equator.]

      Astro-E2 replaces the first Astro-E lost in the M-V-4 launch failure in
      2000. It is the first X-ray satellite to carry a microcalorimeter,
      providing high resolution spectra from a detector refrigerated to 1.5
      milliKelvin. The satellite has five 0.4-meter diameter X-ray telescopes,
      one with the XRS microcalorimater and the others with X-ray CCD cameras;
      a hard (10-700 keV) X-ray detector is also aboard. Mass of Astro-E2 is
      1700 kg. Astro-E2's spatial resolution is lower than Chandra and
      XMM-Newton, so it won't be sending back pretty pictures, but the new XRS
      spectrometer makes it a breakthrough facility for some kinds of
      observation. Although XMM-RGS and Chandra-LETG are more sensitive and
      higher spectral resolution than XRS at soft energies, the reverse is
      true at 2-10 keV energies where XRS surpasses other missions in both
      sensitivity and spectral resolution. I look forward to seeing the initial

      The M-V-6 launch vehicle has three solid stages; it was launched from
      the Uchinoura Space Center (formerly called the Kagoshima Space Center).
      The first stage, M-14, separated 1 min after launch; the second stage
      is the M-25, which separated 3min 20s after launch. The third stage, M-34,
      is spin-stablized and has an extending nozzle; it burned for about 1min 42s
      and entered orbit at about 5min7s after launch. The M-34/ASTRO-E2 then
      maneuvered to put the payload in the correct attitude, and M-34 separated
      21 min after launch. ASTRO-E2 carries some kind of onboard propulsion,
      probably a small hydrazine engine, and will make three apogee burns
      to reach its final 550 km circular orbit. It will then deploy its
      solar panels and extend the optical bench - ASTRO-E2 is truly a
      telescope, and extends its length from 4.5m at launch to 6.5m when
      operational. Note that the two most recent M-V launches, M-V-5 (Hayabusa)
      and M-V-6 (Suzaku), use an uprated stage 2 motor: M-25 replaced the earlier
      M-24 used for the first three M-V launches. This and other improvements
      followed the ASTRO-E launch failure.

      The M-V-4 launch of ASTRO-E on 2000 Feb 10 suffered a first stage nozzle
      failure, but the rocket continued firing and tried to make up the
      resulting trajectory error. Some reports suggest that ASTRO-E made
      a marginal orbit of 80 x 410 km and therefore would have completed
      most of one orbit, while other reports indicate it had a much lower
      velocity and fell in the Pacific not that far from the launch site;
      if anyone has accurate data, please let me know.


      The Hayabusa probe launched by M-V-5 in 2003 is slowly approaching
      asteroid (25143) Itokawa. On Jul 7, range to Itokawa was 143100 km.

      Deep Impact

      The DI Impactor spacecraft separated from the DI Flyby vehicle at 0600
      UTC on Jul 3. Impactor hit comet 9P/Tempel 1 at 10.2 km/s at 0544:58
      UTC on Jul 4, as the DI Flyby spacecraft sent back spectacular pictures
      of the resulting plume. Flyby passed about 500 km from the comet at 0559
      UTC, at which time it was in 'shields up' mode pointing away from the
      comet to protect itself from the plume.

      Previous close encounters with cometary nuclei:

      Comet Spacecraft Date Closest

      21P/Giacobini-Zinner ICE 1985 Sep 11 7870 km
      1P/Halley Vega-1 1986 Mar 6 8900 km
      1P/Halley Vega-2 1986 Mar 9 8030 km
      1P/Halley Giotto 1986 Mar 13 596 km
      26P/Grigg-Skjellerup Giotto 1992 Jul 10 200 km
      45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova Sakigake 1996 Feb 11? 10000?km
      19P/Borrelly Deep Space 1 2001 Sep 17 2171 km
      81P/Wild 2 Stardust 2004 Jan 2 250 km
      9P/Tempel 1 Deep Impact IS 2005 Jul 4 < 0 km
      9P/Tempel 1 Deep Impact FS 2005 Jul 4 500?km


      China's Shi Jian 7 scientific satellite was orbited on Jul 5 by a Chang
      Zheng 2D rocket from the northern launch site at Jiuquan. SJ-7 is in a
      547 x 570 km x 97.6 deg orbit. This is the first CZ-2D used for a
      non-recoverable satellite launch and the first launch in the SJ series
      from Jiuquan since 1981.

      Errata: Ekspress AM-3 is scheduled to be located at 140E, not 40E (JSR
      DirecTV 6 was launched on 1997 Mar 8, not Apr 7 (JSR 548).

      Table of Recent Launches

      Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission
      Jun 16 2310 Progress M-53 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1
      Cargo 21A
      Jun 21 0049 Molniya-3K Molniya-M Plesetsk LC16/2
      Comms F01
      Jun 21 1946 Cosmos-1 Volna Borisoglebsk,BAR
      Tech F02
      Jun 23 1402 Intelsat A-8 Zenit-3SL Odyssey,POR
      Comms 22A
      Jun 24 1941 Ekspress AM-3 Proton-K/DM2 Baykonur
      Comms 23A
      Jul 5 2240 SJ-7 CZ-2D Jiuquan
      Sci 24A
      Jul 10 0330 Suzaku M-V Uchinoura XR
      Astron. 25A

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