Japan is abandoning its recently launched $273 million Hitomi space telescope after two solar array panels apparently broke off the satellite, sending it spinning wildly into space.
Hitomi was launched in February with the goal of using its x-ray vision to shed new light on black holes, supernova remnants and galaxy clusters. One month later, the space agency said it was unable to figure out the health of the satellite after it became unresponsive and debris was spotted around it.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said it received three signals believed to be from Hitomi; however, further investigation revealed the signals were not from the satellite and were “due to the differences in frequencies as a consequence of technological study,” the space agency said.
On Thursday JAXA said “it is highly likely that both solar array paddles had broken off at their bases where they are vulnerable to rotation,” making it virtually impossible to get the satellite back on track.
While there is no possibility of retrieving Hitomi, JAXA said in a news release it now plans to focus its effort on what caused the anomaly, including scrutiny of design, manufacturing, verification, and operations.
Mark 2 hours ago
Guess it found a black hole sooner than expected.
James 14 minutes ago
How about figuring out how to get rid of all the radioactive water at fukushima without dumping it in the ocean?
Amerejuanican 18 hours ago
People are starving and finding black holes is priority. Mother Mercy!
charmer 1 hour ago
When satellite malfunction,it is understood, but when a panel broke off from a handle,
that is considered gross in competences.
Lloyd H 1 hour ago
Clearly someone dropped the ball on this. And fixing it would probably cost more then sending a new one up. But now we have the problem of more space junk. We are approaching a problem of not being able to send anything into space due to the junk orbiting our planet….
Anyone have a space sweeper?
tom s 3 hours ago
Well, the only thing left for them to do is drink some tea and pull out their knives. Just kidding. They really take things seriously, don’t they. That commitment to excellence is why they make superior products. Usually.