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Scientific Satellite

SUISEI

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
SUISEI (PLANET-A) August 1985 Observation of Halley's Comet, making its first appearance in 76 years (International Cooperation Project) Japan's first escape from the Earth's gravitation. With the SAKIGAKE satellite, dubbed the "Halley Fleet".

AKEBONO

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
AKEBONO (EXOS-D) February 1989 Aurora observation satellite  

HITEN

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
HITEN
(MUSES-A)
January 1990 Development of accurate orbit standardization and control, and highly efficient data transmission technologies, experiments on lunar swingby and aerobraking in the Earth's atmosphere, and lunar orbit insertion of a satellite, etc. Successful experiments on global first double-lunar swingby synchronous orbit technology, and orbital changes using the Earth (aerobraking). Japan's first lunar orbiting satellite HAGOROMO was placed into the lunar orbit, but crash-landed in the lunar crater Furnerius in 1993.

YOHKOH

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
YOHKOH (SOLAR-A) August 1991 High-precision observation of solar flares at Solar Maximum Selected by U.S. astronomy magazine "Sky & Telescope" as one of the best ten astrophotographs of the 20th century

GEOTAIL

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
GEOTAIL July 1992 Earth observation satellite for research into Earth’s magnetotail structure and dynamics One of a number of Japan-U.S. international cooperation projects arranged under an agreement between then Prime Minister Nakasone and President Reagan

ASCA

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
ASCA
(ASTRO-D)
February 1993 Observation of X-rays in stars and galaxies, and study of X-rays from the farthest reaches of space including galaxy clusters The satellite allowed the world's first precision spectroscopy and photography of cosmic X-ray.

HALCA

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
HALCA (MUSES-B) February 1997 Study of large-scale precision deployment structure and mechanism, tests of phase synchronization required for VLBI, etc. Radio telescope satellite performing the world’s first space VLBI observation with resolution 300 times that of the Hubble Space Telescope

NOZOMI

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
NOZOMI (PLANET-B) July 1998 Study of the composition, movement and in particular mutual action of solar winds in the upper atmosphere of Mars Japan's first space probe, approaching Mars in December 2003 with the names of 270,000 people aboard

HAYABUSA

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
HAYABUSA (MUSES-C) May 2003 Scientific observation of Asteroid ITOKAWA The world’s first space probe to succeed in landing on and taking off from an extraterrestrial celestial body, at present undertaking full-scale cruising for its return trip to Earth in June 2010

SUZAKU

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
SUZAKU (ASTRO-E2) July 2005 X-ray astronomy satellite Equipped with instruments for observing high energy cosmic phenomena such as black holes and galaxy clusters

AKARI

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
AKARI (ASTRO-F) February 2006 Observation for creating an all-sky map in infrared light, taking over from the first global infrared astronomy satellite "IRAS"  

Hayabusa2

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
Hayabusa2 December 2014 Scientific observation of a C-type asteroid "1999 JU3". Future plans
  • Scheduled arrival at destination: 2018
  • Scheduled return to Earth: 2020

ASTRO-H

Name Date of launch Major objectives Remarks
Hitomi (ASTRO-H) February 2016 X-ray Astronomy Satellite
Observation of high-energy celestial bodies such as black holes
  • X-ray observation using multiple payloads, including the micro-calorimeter detector
  • Fully adopts SpaceWire and RMAP for communications networks between internal satellite equipment

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