Suzaku (ASTRO-EII)
NSSDC ID 2005-025A
Organization Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Major contractors NASA, MIT
Launch date 2005-07-10, 03:30:00 UTC
Launched from Uchinoura Space Center
Uchinoura, Kagoshima, Japan
Launch vehicle M-V-6
Mission length elapsed: 9 years and 26 days
Mass 1706 kg[1]
Type of orbit Circular
Orbit height 550.0 km (inclination 31°)
Orbit period 96 minutes
M-V rocket carrying ASTRO-E veering off course after launch on 10 February 2000.
General information
Organization Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
Launch date 2000-02-10, 01:30:00 UTC
Launched from Kagoshima Space Center
Uchinoura, Kagoshima, Japan
Launch vehicle M-V-4

Suzaku (formerly ASTRO-EII) is a Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite launched on 10 July 2005 aboard the M-V-6 rocket. The project was renamed Suzaku after its successful launch after the mythical Vermilion bird of the South.[2]

Just weeks after launch, on 29 July 2005 the first of series of cooling system malfunctions occurred, that ultimately on 8 August 2005 caused the entire reservoir of liquid helium to boil off into space. This effectively shut down the XRS which is the spacecraft's primary instrument. The two other instruments, XIS and HXD, were unaffected by the malfunction, and there are plans to integrate another XRS into the proposed NeXT X-ray observation satellite planned for launch in 2014.

Suzaku instruments

Suzaku is carrying high spectroscopic resolution, very wide energy band instruments for detecting signals ranging from soft X-rays up to gamma-rays (0.3–600 keV). High resolution spectroscopy and wide-band are essential factors to physically investigate high energy astronomical phenomena, such as black holes and supernovae. One such feature, the broad iron K line, may be key to more direct imaging of black holes.

  • X-ray Telescope (XRT)
  • X-ray Spectrometer (XRS)
  • X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS)
  • Hard X-ray Detector (HXD)
    • Uses Gadolinium Silicate crystal (GSO), Gd2SiO5(Ce)[3]
    • Uses Bismuth Germanate crystal (BGO), Bi4Ge3O12[3]


Suzaku is a replacement of ASTRO-E which was lost for the failure of launch vehicle. M-V-4 rocket launched on 10 February 2000 at 01:30:00 UTC but experienced a failure 42 seconds later, failed to achieve orbit and crashed with its payload into the ocean.[4]


Suzaku discovered "fossil" light from a supernova remnant.[5]


Further reading

  • Special Issue: First Results from Suzaku. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. Vol. 59, No. SP1. January 30, 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2010.

External links

  • (ASTRO-EII) mission description
  • (ASTRO-EII) mission overview
  • Information for Researchers
  • JAXA report presentation of failure analysis of XRS (in Japanese)
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day: Launch of the Red Bird
  • NASA ASTRO-EII mission description
  • Learning Center
  • NASA/GSFC XRS-2 project page
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