Japan abandons lost satellite

Astro-H satellite, also known as “Hitomi”, was a satellite sent by Japan´s space agency on February 17 to study black holes. The idea was primarily to study X-rays emitted by them. However, on March 26, contact with the satellite was lost. This brought all Japanese most brilliant minds together to try to get in touch with the $273 million structure.

As of last month and after weeks of trying to figure out what happened, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that they had stopped all efforts to find the satellite. Hitomi was the result of cooperation between Japan, NASA, and other agencies, including the European Space Agency. The agency announced that the reason for stopping efforts to make contact was due to the “likelihood” of the two solar rays to have broken off at their bases.

Saku Tsuneta, Director General of JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, said in a press conference offered on April 28, "We concluded that the satellite is in a state in which its functions are not expected to recover.”

After the breakthrough discovery of gravitational wave evidence to support the existence of black holes was confirmed since the phenomenon was found to be the result of the collision between two huge black holes. The truth is that these colossal space events have never been observed directly and we have limited information about them. The project was meant to take place over a course of three years, during which it would detect data on black holes and other bodies, such as supernovas to determine the amount of radiation they send out to space.

The satellite’s malfunction was witnessed every time it passed by the Eastern coast of South America. Hitomi’s star tracker system was not responding properly.  This made engineers try to maneuver the satellite in the wrong direction due to wrong information received.  Weeks later, it simply went silent.



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