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Paul Hertz: Japan’s Space Agency Asks NASA to Produce X-Ray Instrument Copy for 2nd Hitomi Satellite

deep_spaceJapan’s space agency has asked NASA to build a copy of an X-ray instrument onboard a Japanese Hitomi astronomy satellite that lost contact on March 26 with spacecraft controllers a month after its launch in February, Space News reported Thursday.

Jeff Foust writes Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s astrophysics division, said NASA has begun to consider the development of a “build-to-print” version of the Soft X-Ray Spectrometer for the JAXA agency’s proposed ASTRO-H2 satellite that is expected to launch by 2020.

“JAXA has announced their intent to study a rebuild of Hitomi” Hertz told the astrophysics subpanel of the NASA advisory council’s science committee.

Hertz said NASA estimates development work on a new SXS will cost between $70 and $90 million over five years through 2021, Foust reports.

“In my assessment, these kinds of changes do not cause grievous harm to our programs,” he told subcommittee members.

Hertz added he is scheduled to meet JAXA officials in early August to tackle NASA’s possible involvement in the proposed ASTRO-H2 mission, according to the report.

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