Jan 20, 2019 | Updated: 08:39 AM EST

NASA X-Ray Astronomy Recovery Mission: Working With JAXA To Replace Hitomi

Apr 10, 2017 01:33 AM EDT


The space agency giants are all set to upgrade their telescope by replacing the last one due to a malfunction. NASA and the Japanese space agency will start working together this spring on developing an X-Ray astronomy telescope which will replace the telescope which was launched last year.

According to Space, the information was officially released by NASA's astrophysics division director Paul Hertz during a presentation to the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics of the National Academies. He said that the project is known as X-Ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM) that will be launched after April 1, which is the start of the Japanese New Fiscal Year.

"We are moving forward with the X-Ray Astronomy Recovery Mission," Hertz from NASA said. He also mentioned that the Japanese new fiscal year budget included the mission in its budget list which is subject to pending approval by the country's parliament.

Space News reported that the new project XARM conducted by NASA and JAXA will be replacing Hitomi, which is an X-Ray astronomy spacecraft launched by JAXA last year in February 2016. Hitomi malfunctioned a month and a half later.

The malfunctioning was caused by some errors in the spacecraft's attitude control system compounded by human error. This was the reason, why the spacecraft spun up and the solar panels broke off which deprived the spacecraft of power. NASA will officially establish the XARM project after June, as a formal review called "Key Decision Point B". It is planned for June, which will eradicate NASA's role in the whole project.

The cost of XARM for NASA has not been disclosed, but estimates from sources suggest that the rebuilding of the instrument will cost somewhere around $70 to 90 million approx. The cost will be accommodated by NASA astrophysics budget. NASA will be providing the same hardware that they provided last time for Hitomi.

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