New X-ray Astronomy Satellite ASTRO-H Striving to Solve the Mysteries of the Universe ASTRO-H Outline

World’s-firsts with ASTRO-H
1. Imaging and spectroscopic observations in both soft and hard X-rays
2. Spectroscopic observations with a microcalorimeter, giving the highest energy resolution ever flown
3. The most sensitive observations over a wide energy range, from soft X-rays to gamma rays (0.3-600 keV)

ASTRO-H is an X-ray astronomy satellite scheduled for launch in 2015. It will be the fifth and largest Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite, and will perform high-resolution observations over a wide range of wavelengths, from X-ray to gamma ray.

Focusing X-ray

Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT)
Hard X-ray Telescope (HXT)

ASTRO-H carries two each of these two different kinds of telescopes. Hard X-rays are especially difficult to focus because of their high penetrating power, and the HXI is one of the first telescopes to be able to do this. This produces images on the detectors on the focal plane (SXI, HXI)


Soft X-ray Imager (SXI)

The SXI will image X-rays in space with a wide field of view and moderately high energy resolution using a CCD camera, which is a product of Japan’s semiconductor industry.

Hard X-ray Imager (HXI)

The HXI will enable imaging at higher energies, and the combination of SXI and HXI will give the first X-ray images over such a broad bandpass.

Measuring Energy

Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS)

SXS is equipped with a microcalorimeter, which is a detector cooled to an extremely low absolute temperature of 50mK (millikelvin) , only fractions of a degree above absolute zero. Its remarkable energy resolution will make it possible to measure the dynamics of X-ray hot gas to unprecedented accuracy. Astro-H will make the worlds first X-ray astronomy observations with a microcalorimeter

Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD)

The SGD is equipped with the most sensitive ever semiconductor Compton camera ever flown. It will measure soft gamma rays, which have shorter wavelengths than X-rays, to explore the effects of non-thermal particle acceleration in the universe.

Scheduled Launch Date 2015
Launch Location Tanegashima Space Center
Launch Vehicle H-IIA
Overall Height About 14m
Mass About 2.7 tonnes
Orbit Altitude 550 km, circular orbit
Objectives To explore high energy phenomena such as black holes and supernova explosions. To research the structure and evolution of the universe by observing galaxy clusters filled with high-temperature gas.