Japan gives up on failed black hole research satellite

(From AFP)

Japan is abandoning a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar satellite it sent to study black holes, disappointed space scientists said Thursday, after spending a month trying to save it.

Japanese scientists said it cost $273 million to launch the ultra high-tech "Hitomi" satellite

Japanese scientists said it cost $273 million to launch the ultra high-tech “Hitomi” satellite

The ultra-high-tech “Hitomi” — or eye — was launched in February to find X-rays emanating from black holes and galaxy clusters.

But shortly after the expensive kit reached orbit, researchers admitted they had lost control of it and said it was no longer communicating, with agency scientists saying it could have disintegrated.

Bosses at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) set dozens of their brightest minds on the task of salvaging the satellite.

But on Thursday, they acknowledged defeat and said they were going to have to abandon it.

“We concluded that the satellite is in a state in which its functions are not expected to recover,” Saku Tsuneta, director general of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, told reporters.

“I deeply apologize for abandoning operation” of the satellite, he said. Read More



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