A new Japanese X-ray telescope to launch February 12


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Third time the charm? Japan will launch on Friday a new X-ray telescope, the third time they have attempted to put this type of observatory into orbit.

Astro-H, which according to Japanese custom will be renamed upon successful launch, will collect the X-ray spectra for large deep space objects like galaxy clusters. An American scientist, Richard Kelley, has been trying to get this kind of instrument launched since 1984. First his instrument was dropped from Chandra because of cost. Then, two attempts to launch it by Japan failed, one when the rocket failed during launch and the second when the spacecraft itself failed soon after reaching orbit.

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