Suzaku Collaboration

This video talks about what happened to the original Astro-E mission.

Visit the Suzaku Educational DVD page for more information on this video and to view other clips from the DVD.

Suzaku was the second attempt for the Japanese and NASA to put up the Astro-E satellite. The first attempt failed at launch in February 2000 – watch the video clip to see what happened to Astro-E.

The name “Suzaku” is a Japanese god (borrowed from Chinese) represented by a vermillion phoenix. This satellite, originally known as Astro-E2, was renamed Suzaku on the day of its successful launch. The name signifies a new beginning for X-ray astronomy in Japan.

NASA’s X-ray group at Goddard Space Flight Center had been developing X-ray microcalorimeters for astronomical observations and were ready for the technology to be flown on a satellite. A microcalorimeter was originally selected to be flown on a satellite called the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF). However, in 1992, a new plan for AXAF split it into two satellites: AXAF-I would focus on high-resolution X-ray imaging and AXAF-S would perform high-resolution spectroscopy with the microcalorimeter. AXAF-I was launched in 1999 and renamed the Chandra X-ray Observatory. AXAF-S, however, had a different fate.

In 1993, the Japanese space agency was looking for a new instrument to put on their next X-ray observatory, Astro-E. NASA and ISAS agreed that rather than flying AXAF-S, they would collaborate, with NASA providing the primary instrument on Astro-E. After Astro-E failed to make orbit, NASA and ISAS agreed to re-fly the satellite with NASA again providing an X-ray microcalorimeter as the primary instrument. Upon achieving orbit, Astro-E2 was renamed “Suzaku.”

A short time after launch, the X-ray microcalorimeter lost its coolant, making the instrument inoperable. However, not all was lost – Suzaku carries two other instruments that have made many exciting discoveries.

Use the links below or in the sidebar to learn more about Suzaku.

Read a brief overview of the Suzaku mission
What types of objects does Suzaku observe? What cosmic problems is it trying to solve?
Suzaku carries several telescopes and detectors to perform its observations, find out about them here.
Find out about recent Suzaku discoveries.
SuzakuSuzaku Spreads its Wings
The word Suzaku as written in Japanese (left), and a cartoon of Suzaku spreading its wings (right)