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AKARI (ASTRO-F)

Mission Profile

Name (pre-launch in parentheses) AKARI (ASTRO-F)
International Designation Code 2006-005A
Objectives
  1. Explore primeval galaxies using highly sensitive infrared observation to study the evolution of galaxies.
  2. Observe a variety of star-formation regions with infrared to study the birth of stars.
  3. Explore the evolution of stars and cycling of matter in the Universe.
  4. Explore radiation from proto-planetary disks outside the solar system.
  5. Hunt for new comets.
Launch Date 06:28, February 22, 2006 (JST)
Location Uchinoura Space Center (USC)
Launch Vehicle
Configuration Weight Approx. 952 kg (at launch)
Dimensions 1.9m x 1.9m x 3.2m
5.5m (at deployment of the solar paddles)



[Click image for enlargement]
Orbit Altitude 700 km
Inclination 98.2°
Type of Orbit Sun-synchronous polar orbit
Period 100 min
Scientific Instruments Ritchey-Chretien reflection telescope with 68.5 cm aperture and 4,200 mm focal length
Two types of observation instruments installed on the telescope's focal point: FIS (Far-Infrared Surveyor) to observe far-infrared; and near-infrared/mid-infrared camera IRC (InfraRed Camera)
Liquid helium and Stirling-cycle mechanical refrigerator to cool observation instruments
End of Operation November 24, 2011
Operation During post-launch functional checkups, the two-dimensional solar sensor (NSAS), etc., were seen to be behaving unexpectedly. After careful review of operational procedures, we modified the satellite's onboard software to ensure complete attitude control and then performed the operation check test. At 16:55 on April 16, 2006 (JST), we opened the telescope lid (release of aperture lid) and confirmed by telemetry signals from the satellite that the operation had been completed successfully. Since then, both electric power and attitude are stable and observation is now conducted without problems.
After liquid Helium boil-off in August 2007, AKARI continues observations with the Near-Infrared insturument.
Results In May 2006, we released the first results including the first clear image of the star-birthing region by successful high-resolution observation far exceeding conventional infrared images.
In March 2007, the scientific results obtained by AKARI were first presented in the annual spring meeting of the Astronomical Society of Japan.
In October 2007, AKARI initial results are published in the special issure of the Publication of the Astronomical Society of Japan.