May 19, 2019 | Updated: 11:49 AM EDT

NASA And JAXA Join Hands To Replace X-Ray Telescope In Space

Apr 03, 2017 03:34 PM EDT

Chandra and Hubble Image of X-Ray Emission Halo
(Photo : Photo by NASA via Getty Images) 390506 01: This composite image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope shows the first halo of X-ray emission detected around a young cluster of stars, known as the Arches cluster. The photo was released on June 6, 2001 by NASA

In a new collaborative venture, NASA is looking forward to join hands with Japanese space agency JAXA in order to build a new orbiting X-ray astronomy telescope. It is supposed to replace the one that got lost in space days after launch last year.

According to Space News, this new project, dubbed the X-Ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM), will start shortly after the commencement of the Japanese fiscal year on April 1. As per NASA officials, the mission was a part of the Japanese government's budget for the new fiscal year, subject to approval from the country's parliament.

Reportedly, XARM is going to be the replacement for Hitomi, an X-ray astronomy spacecraft that was launched by JAXA in February 2016. The spacecraft malfunctioned while in orbit after a month and a half. An investigation found that the spacecraft's altitude control system had a chain of errors, which ultimately led to the spacecraft to spin up. Due to this disaster, the solar panels on the spaceship broke, thus depriving it of power.

According to The Japan News, XARM is being developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland. Kazuhiro Sakai (39), a Japanese researcher has been in charge of the development of XARM. The Japanese researcher has been working for NASA after his stint with the JAXA.

Other than the XARM development project, there are various other projects that have JAXA scientists collaborating with NASA. Be it the Mars 2020 project, which will see a new Mars rover sent into space, to the development of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, mimicking the Hayabusa spacecraft launched by JAXA in 2014, there are a number of projects that the Japanese and American agencies are working on together. While the Mars 2020 project is termed one of the most ambitious projects of sending the rover to Mars in recent times, the OSIRIS-REx is expected to collect samples of asteroids and space dust for testing in the laboratory.

However, both the previous versions of X-ray spectrometers built by NASA that went to space on JAXA spacecraft faced problems like launch failure and helium leak that led to the shunning of both the projectiles. Scientists are hoping that this time, it will be a success for both NASA and JAXA.  

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