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JAXA loses contact with Hitomi X-ray astronomy satellite

Communication with an X-ray astronomy satellite launched in February has reportedly failed, according to JAXA, Japan’s space agency. The satellite was undergoing on-orbit checkout before beginning operational research.

The cause for the loss of communications on Mar 26 is unknown, however it corresponds with an unexpected change in orbit of the spacecraft. The satellite cost approximately $345 million USD to build and launch.

Space-Track, an organization tracking objects in orbit around Earth, announced the detection of five objects possibly stemming from the satellite. The exact nature of these is not known.

The Hitomi satellite is the sixth in a series of X-ray astronomy satellites developed by JAXA.

(Image: Artist concept of Hitomi/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA))

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