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ASCA (Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics)





ASCA (Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics)
Japan's fourth X-ray astronomy mission, launched by ISAS (Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences), and the second for which the United States provided part of the scientific payload. This included four grazing-incidence X-ray telescopes, developed at the Goddard Space Flight Center, each of which worked in the energy range 0.7–10 keV. After eight months of instrument validation, ASCA became a guest-observer project open to astronomers in Japan, America, and ESA (European Space Agency) member states. Among its targets for study were the cosmic X-ray background, active galactic nuclei, galactic clusters, and supernovae and their remnants. ASCA was the first satellite to use CCDs (charge-coupled devices) for X-ray astronomy. It is also known by its national name, Asuka, which means "flying bird," and prior to launch was called Astro-D.


launch date Feb. 20, 1993
launch vehicle M-3S
launch site Kagoshima
orbit 538 × 645 km × 31°
size 4.0 × 1.2 m
mass 417 kg


Related entry

   • X-ray satellites


Related categories

   • JAPANESE SPACECRAFT
   • SATELLITES AND SPACE PROBES
   • JAPAN IN SPACE