Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home | Satellites and Data |


Credit: ISAS

ASTRO-E was to be the Japan's fifth X-ray astronomy mission, but was unfortunately lost during launch (10 Feb 2000). Astro-E was developed at the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) in collaboration with the US and Japanese institutions. Astro-E was to carry, among other instruments, a new type of X-ray spectrometer, the X-ray micro-calorimeter, which provides an unprecedented energy resolution compared to non-dispersive instruments.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime: Lost on launch in Feb 2000
* Energy Range: 0.4-700 keV
* Special Features: First X-ray micro-calorimeter in space
* Payload:
  • Five nested conical thin-foil grazing incidence telescopes (XRT), with a spatial resolution of < 1.5´. Four telescopes were gold-coated (XRT-I) and one was platinum-coated (XRT-S). At the focus of each telescope there was one of the following detectors :

    • X-ray Spectrometer (XRS; 0.4-10 keV; one unit)
      X-ray micro-calorimeter composed of 32 pixels at the focus of the XRT-S.
      Energy resolution ~12 eV at 6 keV. FOV 2´ X 4´

    • X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS; 0.4-10 keV; four units)
      Each unit was a 1024 X 1024 pixel CCD detector at the focus of one XRT-I.
      FOV 19´ X 19´, eff. area per each 300 cm<2 @ 1 keV, energy resolution 130 eV (E/6keV)1/2

  • Hard X-ray Detector (HXD; 10-700 keV)
    GSO Phoswich counters (> 50 keV) & silicon PIN diodes (< 50 keV)
    FOV 0.8° @60keV and 2.8° @500keV
    eff. area (<40 keV) 230 cm2 (<40 keV) , 330cm 2 (> 40 keV) energy resolution 3 keV @ 10 keV, 9% @ 662 keV

[Astro-E Guest Observer Facility] (

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Acting Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index