Continuing the Collaboration: Astro-H

Astro-H satellite
Artist’s impression of the Astro-H satellite in space.

The Goddard instrument team has not given up on seeing an X-ray calorimeter work in space – the potential to see the Universe in greater and greater detail is too exciting to give up on.

Teams at ISAS put in a proposal for NeXT (the New exploration X-ray Telescope), as Japan’s X-ray observatory to follow Suzaku. With the support of the ISAS team, Goddard’s X-ray calorimeter team decided to write a “proposal of opportunity” to ask NASA to include a X-ray calorimeter on NeXT. Normally NASA, and other funding agencies, only accept proposals at specific times following an official announcement of a specific funding opportunity. A proposal of opportunity is written when special circumstances arise between official proposal cycles.

Both the JAXA and NASA accepted the proposals of their respective teams. NeXT has since been re-named “Astro-H”, and is planned for launch in 2014.