OT?: Joint NASA-Japanese Satellite Appears Lost

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Joint NASA-Japanese Satellite Appears Lost

4:50 am PST, 10 February 2000 By Patricia Phillips

A Japanese-NASA celestial x-ray mission is lost in space, adding yet another failure to Japan's developing space program.

The $169 million dollar Astro-E satellite survived today's launch from the Kogishima Space Center on the island of Kyushu. After liftoff, something went wrong with the rocket, which veered off course and went into a lower orbit than planned. . Hoping to find the satellite and boost it to a higher orbit, controllers tried sending course-adjusting signals directly to its onboard engines, but so far have received only silence back in reply.

Engineers suspect a problem with the rocket's control system, according to Yoshihisa Nemoto of Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. Last November, another rocket had to be destroyed eight minutes after launch when it went off course. A $92 million satellite was lost in that incident. The cryogenic Astro-E x-ray observatory was to have studied x-ray emitting sources, especially t hose around black holes. It also was to study gases around galaxy clusters, remnants from supernova explosions, neutron stars, and stellar coronae of stars 10,000 times more active than the Sun.


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 10, 2000

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