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AKARI Satellite
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"It’s a feeling of tremendous accomplishment for all of us involved in the AKARI project to finally see the fruits of the long years of labour in these amazing new infrared images of our Universe. We are now eagerly waiting for the next ‘infrared revelation’ about the origin and evolution of stars, galaxies and planetary systems" - Chris Pearson, ESA astronomer located at ISAS and involved with AKARI since 1997.

"These beautiful views already show how, thanks to the better sensitivity and improved spatial resolution of AKARI, we will be able to discover and study fainter sources and more distant objects which escaped detection by the previous infrared sky-surveyor, IRAS, twenty years ago. With the help of the new infrared maps of the whole sky provided by AKARI we will be able to resolve for the first time heavily obscured sources in crowded stellar fields like the centre of our Galaxy" - Pedro García-Lario, responsible for ‘pointing reconstruction’ - a vital part of the AKARI data processing - at ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), Spain.

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AKARI Images
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The infrared satellite AKARI (formerly ASTRO-F) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which was launched from the Uchinoura Space Centre on the 21st of February (UT), achieved first light when the telescope aperture lid was opened on the 13th of April.
After the aperture lid was jettisoned the instruments became fully operational and their performance was confirmed. Following this, the telescope focus adjustment and the optimisation of the attitude control system, etc., were successfully carried out.
JAXA is pleased to announce that the in-orbit performance of the telescope and the two infrared instruments have been verified to be as expected and they are now moving from the performance verification (PV) phase to Phase 1 (real observations) of the mission. The final step in the PV phase has been to produce infrared images of world class resolution and sensitivity which will be presented to the general public.
AKARI carries two instruments, the Far Infrared Surveyor (FIS) and the near-mid Infrared Camera (IRC), to observe the entire sky spanning a large wavelength range from the near-infrared to the far-infrared, the initial images from the mission, show the drastic improvements in resolution and sensitivity over the infrared maps of the Universe currently available. Continuing into the main phase of the mission, we are now looking forward to new infrared maps of the Universe and exciting discoveries in the evolution and origin of stars, galaxies and planetary systems.

The FIS instrument detectors are provided by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and the instrument itself was developed by Nagoya University, JAXA, the University of Tokyo, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and other supporting institutes. The IRC instrument was developed by JAXA, the University of Tokyo and other supporting institutes.
In addition to the domestic institutes mentioned above, the operation and data processing of the AKARI are carried out with international cooperation and support from the European Space Agency (ESA), the Imperial College London, the University of Sussex and Open University in the United Kingdom, the University of Groningen and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) in the Netherlands and Seoul National University in South Korea.


Reflection Nebula IC4954 (far-infrared image)
Credit JAXA


Reflection Nebula IC4954 (mid-infrared image)
Credit JAXA


Spiral Galaxy M81 (near-mid-infrared image)
Credit JAXA

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L

Posts: 131433
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RE: ASTRO-F Satellite
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that the 21st Scientific Satellite "Akari" (ASTRO-F) has been smoothly carrying out initial operations, and its major events for the post-launch phase have been successfully completed, with the cover of the observation equipment, the telescope, being removed (the release of the aperture lid.)

JAXA has been carefully re-examining operation procedures because of trouble in the two-dimensional solar sensor. After they completed the repair work and the operational verification test of the onboard software for stable attitude control, they started the operation for releasing the aperture lid at 4:55 p.m. on April 13, 2006 (JST) from the ground station at the Uchinoura Space Centre.
Telemetry then confirmed that the operation was successfully carried out.

Both the power generation and attitude of the "Akari" are stable, and the observation system is also working normally.

After the final verification test for the observation equipment, they plan to report the results of initial image acquisition in mid May.

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Date:
ASTRO-F Launch
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Launch

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Akari
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the 21st Scientific Satellite (ASTRO-F) aboard the M-V Launch Vehicle No. 8 (M-V-8) at 6:28 a.m. on February 22, 2006 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Uchinoura Space Centre (USC). The launcher was set to a vertical angle of 81.5 degrees, and the flight azimuth was 143.0 degrees.

The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and after the third stage engine burnout, it was confirmed that the satellite was safely injected into its scheduled orbit of a perigee altitude of approximately 304 km and an apogee altitude of approximately 733 km with an inclination of approximately 98.2 degrees.

JAXA started receiving signals from the ASTRO-F at 6:43 a.m. at the Perth Station, and from those signals we verified that the ASTRO-F had successfully separated.

The in-orbit ASTRO-F was given a nickname of "Akari" (meaning a "light.")

At 6:28 a.m. on February 22, 2006 (Japan Standard Time, JST), it was found to be stable in spite of a slight problem.
After its launch, the "Akari" was injected into its scheduled orbit, and the JAXA New Ground Network (GN) Station in Perth, Australia, started receiving data from the satellite at 6:43 a.m. (JST) Through the data, it was confirmed that the "Akari" was successfully separated and was in a spin mode.
The JAXA GN Station in Santiago, Chile, started receiving data at 8:48 a.m. (JST), and the satellite attitude was found to be shifted from the spin mode to spin downed mode as scheduled. The solar array paddle deployment and its power generation were also confirmed.
However, the solar pointing of the attitude control was not complete. Based on their investigation, there is an unknown factor in the output of the two-dimensional solar sensor (NSAS.) Due to this trouble, the "Akari" has been shifted to the attitude control mode using the earth sensor (CES) and the gyroscope (IRU) to secure the necessary power from the solar array paddles.
It was confirmed that the power has been stably generated through the data that was received at the JAXA GN Station in Kiruna, Sweden, since 12:44 p.m. (JST)
Currently, they are investigating the status of the two-dimensional solar sensor (NSAS.)
The overall health condition of the "Akari", apart from the two-dimensional solar sensor, is stable, and they do not perceive that any problem will arise for the scheduled observation operations.

JAXA has confirmed the successful deployment of the solar array paddle (PDL) of the "Akari" Satellite through telemetry data that has been received at the Santiago Station since 8:46 a.m. (Japan Standard Time, JST.)

JAXA Press release

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L

Posts: 131433
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RE: ASTRO-F Satellite
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ASTRO-F information Movie (windows media player)


Launch movie (windows media player)

-- Edited by Blobrana at 00:32, 2006-02-22

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The Astro-F probe will use infrared wavelengths to study the heat glow of space objects hidden by clouds of cosmic dust.
European astronomers are collaborating with Japan on the 500-day mission to make a map of the Universe.
Astro-F will orbit the Earth over the North and South Poles to make its survey of the sky.
The All Sky Survey has a much higher sensitivity than the first infrared astronomical satellite launched in 1983.


Credit JAXA


"This is a tremendous new window on the primordial Universe. Astro-F is expected to be one of the most important international observatories of the decade." - Dr Stephen Serjeant, senior lecturer in astrophysics at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK.

Source BBC

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Spacecraft separation confirmed.

All systems nominal.



Updates to solar sail and satallite status will be added later on....





-- Edited by Blobrana at 21:54, 2006-02-21

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21:43 GMT, Perth tracking station in Australia captured the signal of ASTRO-F


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Awaiting conformation of spacecraft separation

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